First step to improve test scores? Technology.

In MA, district moves to shore up its technology, then improve online communication in effort to bring teachers, parents, together to improve performance.

Schools districts in Massachusetts are banking on high tech to boost test scores, reports the Boston Globe. The first step that the Billerica school district took was to hire Salah E. Khelfaoui as technology director.

"Here we are dealing with the most precious of resources -- children -- and we're really behind the times in how we're communicating to the families," said Superintendent Anthony Serio, who worked with Khelfaoui in Turners Falls and brought him to Billerica from a job in Dubai.

The goal is to propel his district into the 21st century by getting attendance records online, allowing parents online access to children's grades and assessing the data so that teachers can shape curriculum to raise test scores.

When Khelfaoui comes on board this month, he intends to write a software package to help raise test scores.

"We should be able to take these kids and really do amazing things with them," said Serio. "My true belief is that every kid has potential inside.... My job is to take each kid, reach inside and bring it to the surface. That's what I've dedicated my life to."

But there is a lot of work to be before the numbers can be crunched, such as boosting server capacities, tweaking connections, and ramping up processing power.

Khelfaoui plans to take inventory of the technology system this month. He intends to have an inventory of the needed hard and software by the end of the school year.

"It's always a good practice to know where you are before you reach where you want to be," he said in a telephone interview from his home in Dubai.

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