Superintendent shares: Why embracing AI is about more than flashy, new edtech

Incorporating AI into our classrooms is about equipping our students with the skills and competencies necessary to thrive in the digital age.
Millard House II
Millard House II
Millard House II serves as superintendent of Prince George's County Public Schools, the 18th largest school district in the country. He previously served as superintendent for Houston Independent School District in Texas and Clarksville-Montgomery County School System in Tennessee.

As we stand on the brink of a groundbreaking transformation in education, incorporating AI into our classrooms marks an era of unparalleled potential and innovation for Prince George’s County students. Just one year ago, we saw ChatGPT come on the scene, and our world in education was forever changed by artificial intelligence.

When I took over Prince George’s County Public Schools, one of the nation’s 20th largest school districts, just five months ago, I was focused on many things—but technology was at the top of the list. With my predecessor, CEO Monica Goldson, graciously agreeing to stay on for 90 days to aid in my transition, I knew we could do great things for our students.

Goldson was also focused on providing PGCPS with the best opportunities for the next emerging technology, which is why we entered into one of the country’s first partnerships of its kind between PGCPS and the AI Education Project. This partnership signifies a pivotal moment in our commitment to providing cutting-edge, forward-thinking education for our students, teachers, staff, and school leaders. This collaboration aligns with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s administration executive order, establishing an economic council focused on policies that boost the state’s economy.

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AI is no longer a futuristic concept; it is a tangible reality with the potential to enhance and individualize the educational experience for a student population with diverse needs and teachers in our district. So far during the course of this school year, we have trained nearly 1,500 educators. It was amazing to watch the excitement on the staff’s faces when they got to engage with AI tools to support their work and help their students understand the power of AI.

The decision, by both Goldson and myself, to incorporate AI into our classrooms is not merely about keeping pace with emerging trends; it is about equipping our students with the skills and competencies necessary to thrive in the digital age. By integrating AI, we aim to foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.

In partnering with aiEDU, we are focusing on building AI literacy among teachers and students. For teachers, we are helping them become confident users of AI tools, smart consumers of the technology, and innovative educators. For students, we are helping them understand the implications of an AI-powered world, and learn how the technology might be affecting future careers, all while deeply understanding the ethical considerations of implementing the AI.

However, this transformation is not without its challenges. We are mindful of concerns regarding data privacy, algorithmic bias and the ethical implications of AI in education. As we embrace this technological shift, PGCPS remains steadfast in our commitment to implementing robust safeguards, ensuring transparency, and continuously evaluating and refining our approach to mitigate these risks. Part of our work with aiEDU will be to develop policies that enable the safe and responsible use of AI in school settings, including guidance for using language models by teachers, students, and administrative staff.

We are early on in this journey but remain committed to this work. Together, we will shape a future where students, teachers, staff, and school leaders are equipped to thrive in the age of AI.

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