When Bibb County students head back to class next week, their teacher won't be the only thing watching over them countywide.
Patrina Fulks is preparing for her new 8th grade science classes at Ballard-Hudson Middle School. She has everything ready including beakers, posters, and a camera hovering up above.
“It empowers you in different ways,” Fulks said.
She’s been using the camera and audio enhancement system since 2015. That's when Ballard Hudson started piloting the system for the district.
Principal Eclan David says it's designed to help teachers' professional development so they can record and watch their lessons. They then meet with instructional coaches and administration for feedback.
“Teachers have really been able to see different things that they were doing correctly, as well as other things that may need some additional assistance to show growth,” David said.
The cameras do more than that. Teachers can also record discipline problems or emergencies, too. David says the number of discipline problems have dropped since the cameras were installed.
“You now have students signaling to others, 'Hey, look, the camera is on,' so everyone is aware,” David said. “We're starting to find more and more buy-in from the students.”
Now every classroom countywide will have those cameras, and district leaders hope for similar results at other schools.
“Regardless of whether the teacher can see me at this given moment, she still can pull the video and see what I’ve done,” Fulks said. “They’re more aware and they think before they react more so than they did pre-camera.”
Hoping to create better teachers, and a safer classroom with a little help from the eye in the sky.
To put a camera in every classroom in the district it cost $7.4 million. Funding for the project comes from the current E-SPLOST.