Moore County Schools Soar in Latest Rankings for Technology in Classrooms

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North Carolina school district rises to near the top of the state's technology rankings after overhauling its tech infrastructure, investing in teacher training, and developing new online education tools.

Moore County Schools, which three years ago ranked near the bottom in North Carolina for technology, is now among the most tech-savvy school districts in the state. Moore County Schools has climbed to 16th place, three years after placing 111th out of 115 school districts in the state, according to the latest rankings released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

"Our infusion of technology in classrooms and huge improvement in the state's latest technology rankings is a testament to our commitment to give students of Moore County a top-notch education," says James Tagliareni, chief technology officer at Moore County Schools. "Having access to technology, and more importantly, learning to use technology is critical for our children's future, and we're accomplishing that in Moore County Schools. When they graduate, they will be better prepared to compete in the global economy."

Tagliareni added, "I'm most proud that we have purchased 5,000 new computers, networked every school with high-speed Internet access and given our teachers the hardware, software tools and the training they need without increasing our budget. We did it by making the Office of Information Technology run more efficiently and negotiating the lowest possible prices from our vendors."

Moore County Schools rankings have improved dramatically since the district's commitment to improving technology three years ago. The district jumped 20 spots to 91st place in 2003, then it catapulted to 39th place in 2004 and 16th this year, according the North Carolina Annual Media and Technology Report, which is mandated by the State Legislature.

Among Moore County Schools' highlights in the annual report:

  •     The district has 2.5 students for each computer with Internet access, compared with the state average of 3.53 students per computer and the U.S. average of 4.1 students per computer.
  •     100 percent of the district's classrooms are connected with high-speed Internet access, compared to 98.1 percent in the state and 87 percent nationally.
  •     Moore County School's has a knack for getting the most out of its budget. The district's average cost to install, operate and maintain computers was $87 per student, compared to the state average of $216 per student as reported in the annual TCO report.

In 2002, most teachers at Moore County Schools didn't have email or computers in their classroom. Seven of the district's 22 schools weren't even networked and had limited Internet access. And those schools that did have Internet access had slow connections. Since then, in addition to purchasing 5,000 new computers, Moore County Schools has networked every school with high-speed Internet access and equipped every teacher with email and new classroom technology, from personal digital assistants that students use for in-class projects to interactive whiteboards that allow teachers to add multimedia to their lectures. The district's Information Technology (IT) department even trained teachers to develop Web sites, so students can download class materials from home or check their homework assignments if they are absent.

The new technology has made a positive impact on students of all ages at Moore County Schools, from kindergarten through high school. Students' scores on state computer proficiency tests have also improved.

"Our students' eyes light up when technology is incorporated into our classes. It makes learning more interactive and fun. They retain more information and learn more as a result," says Dr. Larry Upchurch, Deputy Superintendent. "For teachers, the new technology tools are allowing them to develop creative and innovative ways to teach."

Moore County Schools officials are already aiming to crack the Top 10 in North Carolina's technology rankings next year. For the 2005-2006 school year, this district is going to highlight training teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms and is increasing the number of personal digital assistants and interactive whiteboards for each school. The district is also working with the county sheriff's office to build a wireless wide area network that will further boost the school district's network.

"Moore County Schools’ amazing turnaround is a credit to our district administrators who mandated the technology overhaul three years ago, our school principals for their support and help in developing our IT strategy, our IT staff for implementing the technology projects, and most importantly, our teachers who have embraced the technology, have taken advantage of the training we've provided and use the technology everyday in our classrooms,” said Tagliareni. “The big winners, of course, are our students."

About Moore County Schools

Moore County Schools educates more than 12,000 students in 22 K-12 schools in Moore County, North Carolina, an economically diverse community whose major industries include agriculture, tourism, health care and education. The school district offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes workforce development, programs for special needs and gifted students and arts education. In addition to Advanced Placement courses at all three high schools, Pinecrest High School offers the International Baccalaureate Program. The district's 2005 SAT average of 1042 exceeded the national average by 14 points. For more information, visit


Tim Lussier

Advisor for Community Relations

Moore County Schools


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James Tagliareni

Chief Technology Officer

Moore County Schools


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Miiko Mentz


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