Fort Sam Houston Independent School District is unique. It’s located within the Fort Sam Houston Army installation and everyone in the district is connected to the military. More than 1,000 children of active military personnel are educated in three schools on base: Fort Sam Houston Elementary, Robert G. Cole Middle School and Robert G. Cole High School.
Why is eChalk Such a Good Fit?
Collaboration was FSHISD’s top priority when it began its search for an online communications tool. Dr. Roland Rios, Technology Director, was specifically drawn to eChalk because it was:
- Easy to use
- Focused on K-12 education
“eChalk was all about education,” he said, and provided a multi-solution package of Professional Learning Communities, Groups and Student Email. The icing on the cake, according to Rios, is the “outstanding” Client Support Team. As a matter of fact, he considers them part of his staff. “It’s amazing that they’re so connected to my school,” he said. “One of our belief statements in the district is that ‘we are a family of lifelong learners.’ And to me, eChalk is part of that family.”
Rising Above Unique Challenges
Mobility is a huge issue for FSHISD since many parents are deployed at military installations around the world. A large number of students are uprooted by frequent moves and many parents face physical or mental challenges. As Dr. Rios says, “Mom and Dad face lots of different challenges here. eChalk was the perfect communications solution for us.”
Parents deployed overseas need to get information about their kids‚ school activities and academic performance quickly and easily. They can access eChalk any time of the day or night in different time zones across the globe. And they stay more personally connected with the use of “digital fridges” that display their children’s school work. One parent emailed Rios to say, “If you hadn’t posted that on the digital fridge, I wouldn’t have felt so connected. Thank you!!”
Success is in the Numbers
Record numbers of eChalk usage leave no doubt that FSHISD parents are staying connected with their children’s schools. In the first year using eChalk, their sites had more than 50,000 hits and many of them came from Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany, where parents are fre-quently deployed.