We held the first meeting of our district Tech Advisory Committee yesterday. Please see the notes below and feel free to comment or ask questions in the comment section. The goal of this committee is to ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to communicate concerns and questions as we continue to move forward with our technology integration plans. Along with that, we want to continue to provide multiple opportunities for parents to learn how to use digital tools and how to support the use of these tools by their students.
Burlington Public Schools Technology Advisory Committee
March 26, 2013
Introductions – Present: Mark Sullivan (BHS Principal), Josh Murphy (Director of Student Information), Bob Cunha (Director of Technology), Dennis Villano (Director of Instructional Technology), Eric Conti (Superintendent), Patrick Larkin (Assistant Superintendent), Andy Marcinek (BHS Staff), RJ Dalton (BHS Student), Sidd Chhayani (BHS Student), Lisa Koman (Parent), Michelle Feist (Parent), Paul Tsitsopoulos (Parent), Kristin Russo (School Committee).
Update from each level – Director of Instructional Technology Dennis Villano updated the group on the Marshall Simonds Middle School 1:1 iPad program. Here is a link to his recent blog post on the middle school 1:1 efforts. In addition, Dennis shared news on the pilots in the elementary schools and noted that all of the first grade pilot teachers felt that the program should be expanded to all first grade classrooms. The high school continues to progress with technology being integrated into classrooms and BHS Principal Mark Sullivan reported that most of his teachers are utilizing these resources comfortably.
Plans for additional technology next year – We continue to prepare for PARCC testing which will replace MCAS in 2015 and will have to be delivered online. We are happy to report that Burlington is one of less than 25% of the districts in the state which is PARCC ready now. Incorporate more devices so that we are 1:1 K-12 within two years. First grade pilot teacher are unanimous
Supporting families/community – It was noted that there is a continued need to support parents in how to manage what the kids have access to and how to monitor it. There was also a recommendation to share information about the newest apps and social media resources that our students are using so that parents can stay up to speed. In addition it was noted that parents need continued training on how to stay on top of the latest news from the schools and that we should not forgo traditional means of communication (i.e. newspaper).
Questions/Concerns – What percentage of teachers are using the iPads in the classroom at the high school? Mr. Sullivan put the number at about 90%.
Another question regarding the online PARCC assessment was whether or not students would be able to use a paper and pencil if they preferred that or were uncomfortable with the online test. In response, we noted that the accommodations have not been finalized but it is our assumption that all students are expected to take the assessment online.
There was also a question about iPads going home in grades K-8 as they currently do in the high school. With the main concerns at this point filtering out of school and breakage, we are unclear at this point what the plans for iPads going home in grades K-8. This will definitely be a topic of conversation at future meetings.
Other Useful Links regarding BPS EdTech
Next Meeting – April 23, 2013 – 2:30-3:30 in the Marshall Simonds Learning Commons