Chris Urban is the Director of Technology at Monongalia County Schools in Morgantown, West Virginia. She considers herself responsible in preparing more than 11,000 students for the real, ever-evolving world of technology. The district is made up of ten primary schools, five middle schools, three high schools and two alternative schools.
Chris’ professional experiences and technological curiosity may explain her successes. During her 20-plus years of teaching, she went above and beyond to use technology in her classrooms. When the district’s technology integration position became available, she was first in line, ultimately making her way into the Director of Technology position with her classroom foundation and gained technical experiences.
Since her advancement as the Director, she has accomplished many things. Going back to 2013, the district launched a one-to-one program with the help of a grant from the West Virginia Department of Education providing each student at a middle school with a laptop. In 2016, the district launched a one-to-one program at all schools, for students grades 3 to12, providing each student with a Chromebook.
But her dreams don’t stop there. Chris and her team are working towards a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) program, allowing students and staff to bring their own devices and use them in class for school purposes. This dream is still a few years away but it’s the vision. A good BYOD program is quite complementary to their existing one-to-one program, while she continues to procure enough computers for every student down to the 2nd grade. Lastly, she wants students to embrace some of the more advanced technologies and focus on things like coding augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
But beyond the acquisition of technology, Chris has brought on an amazing support staff. She credits the district’s EdTech success largely to her team. Only half of the schools had full-time technology integration specialists when she stepped in as the Director, and now, every school has a full-time specialist.
In fact, Monongalia ranks 4th out of 55 school districts and Monongalia shows continuous county growth. Chris modestly explained to me, “We have amazing leaders in our district, from the students, to the teachers, to the school administrators to the district leadership and the Board of Education. We all work cohesively as a team and everyone should be credited.”