Dr. JR Proctor Presents at National Conference on Digital Convergence
Dr. J.R. Proctor, superintendent of Axtell Independent School District, was a featured presenter at the 2018 National Conference on Digital Convergence, held in Jacksonville, Florida in February.
Proctor’s talk, “Year One in Axtell, Texas,” reported the district’s progress working though the Digital Convergence Framework. The district has moved from Stage 1 to Stage 3 of the framework in 12 months, an impressive feat for its size—700 students on two campuses—with limited resources.
Axtell may be small, but its residents think big and have heart—many of its teachers, administrators and faculty have lived in the town most of their lives and have deep family and community ties to the area. As such, stakeholders are personally invested in the framework’s success.
Proctor said that regardless of a district’s size, they all face similar challenges. Having replaced the previous superintendent who had been in the position for 22 years, strong continuity of Leadership—the first and most important driver of Digital Convergence—was of critical importance during the transition. Proctor said that leadership is one of the biggest challenges in education today. Only a small percentage of educators are willing to participate in leading change, he says, due to the personal and professional risk that accompanies a departure from the status quo. Change is not always easy, Proctor said, but educators have a responsibility to be forward-thinking and proactive when it comes to the success of their students.
The district’s vision statement reads: “Axtell ISD will provide all students with a great educational experience that creates engaged problem solvers, who are ethical citizens, and possess and entrepreneurial spirit.” Proctor emphasized that in order for the Framework to be instituted successfully, this goal must permeate every lesson of every period of every school day.
Proctor also shared some of the challenges that Axtell ISD has faced in the past year, and the approaches the district has taken to solve them. Partnerships are essential element of the district’s rapid progress through the Framework. For example, although most students in the district live just 10 minutes from Baylor University and other high-tech private enterprises in Waco, 67 percent of students struggle to get reliable internet at home. The solution? The district partnered with local broadband internet providers to obtain mobile hotspots that students can check out at the library.
Looking forward, Axtell ISD is excited and motivated to tackle the next phases of the Framework. Do you have a student in this district? Did you hear Dr. Doctor speak at the conference? If your district engaged in the work of Digital Convergence?