Students today, global leaders tomorrow

Published 9:49 am Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MURFREESBORO – The school is often molded by the principal.

Such has obviously been the case since Patty Hardy was named the chief executive of Riverview Elementary School. The result is that the school is one of the most technologically advanced in the region.

“Since she became principal, Patty Hardy has really pushed technology at Riverview,” said Hertford County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Michael G. Basham. “Any piece of equipment teachers think will be useful, she has bought.”

Dr. Basham also said the school was the one which took most advantage of technology training offered by District Technology Specialist Abby Askew.

“The largest number of attendees will always be from Riverview, because Mrs. Hardy requires it,” Dr. Basham said. “She is a leader in the area of technology.”

Riverview Elementary School is filled with computers, Smart Boards, video technology, document cameras and just about any other technology that is available to help students learn or teachers teach.

Hardy said the credit is not to her, but to the staff of Riverview which has bought into her use of technology.

“They buy into it,” she said. “Our teachers want the students to be global, 21st century learners,” she said.

Dr. Basham said Hardy’s love and belief in technology would indeed be of little affect if it wasn’t for the staff of Riverview believing in that leadership.

“You have to want to do it,” Dr. Basham insisted.

“I see that a lot,” Hardy added. “They are willing to try new things. I have a staff that wants to grow and they are growing.”

Hardy said the technological boost offered to students in every classroom at Riverview would not be possible if it wasn’t for the support of the HCPS administration.

“We get great support from Dr. Basham,” she said. “We’ve been able to write grants, but he has supported the use of technology and the purchase of the equipment here. He knows that our goal is to be a Blue Ribbon School.”

Hardy said she believed in technology because, like many other areas of importance for the district, it gave variety to teaching and learning.

“I believe it gives you more than one way to get students involved,” Hardy said. “We have active and involved students and technology certainly helps in that area.”

Hardy said the use of technology allowed students to work together and to foster an environment where teachers can facilitate learning.

“When we were in Mrs. Heather Matthews’ class, the students were working through technology on math problems,” Hardy said. “The great thing is they knew right then if they got the problem right or not. They didn’t have to wait for her to grade it and give it back later.

“Also, they were encouraged to help each other,” the principal continued. “Instead of feeling like they were being singled out if they needed help, the student expected help.”

Hardy said the use of technology was prevalent throughout the building.

“Every class in this building uses technology from Pre-K through sixth grade,” she said. “There are five computers in every classroom and every teacher has their own laptop.”

Dr. Basham said any prospective teacher applying for a job at Riverview would have to know technology because Hardy would ask about it quickly.

“First, we want to know that you love children,” she said. “You can’t like children, because we love them here at Riverview. Next, you need to know how to use technology. Our communication system is almost entirely through technology.”

Hardy said the staff communicated mostly via email and that included over the weekend when she would often send out information that would allow teachers to read what was happening in education.

“They respond to me over the weekend,” she said. “I know they’re reading what we’re sharing with them.”

The principal insisted the buy-in about the use of technology wasn’t just from younger staff members, but veteran educators as well.

“They love it,” she said. “They want to grow professionally and they work to learn about using technology in their classrooms.”

Hardy gave a nod to the District Technology staff, saying the group always aided the program at Riverview and helped in any areas in which they were needed.

The support has extended beyond the staff and students, however.

“The Superintendent is here every week to see what we’re doing and see what we need,” Hardy said. “The community has been supportive of the technology and the board of education members have been behind us.”

Among the areas in which technology has been used at Riverview is the Classworks program that has been implemented in the school district this year.

“We like the individual programs because they are designed to meet the student where they are and move them forward,” Hardy said.

The principal said all of the technology at the school was just one of the ways they were moving forward as the school worked to teach the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

“We want to be a Blue Ribbon School and this is one of the ways in which we’re striving to do that,” Hardy said.

“I think they’ll make it,” Dr. Basham added. “It’s a long process, but they are on the right track and technology is certainly one of the reasons they are moving forward.”

For more information about the technology used at Riverview Elementary School, contact Hardy at 398-4862.