Invitation from School Committee: Discuss ipad pilot program on October 9

by beth on October 4, 2013

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This week, I posted about parents’ concerns over Neary’s planned 1:1 technology pilot. The post included a letter to the editor from Fiona Maguire-O’Shea asking the school to allow parents to collaborate and vote on the pilot guidelines. Since then, she’s received a lot of response. The most important response to date, an invitation for parents to voice their concerns to the K-8 School Committee. Through a comment on the blog, School Committee member Jerry Capra issued this invitation:

To Fiona and others,

Please come to the next School Committee meeting (Oct 9, 6:30 at Trottier library) so we can discuss these issues. Your attendance would be very much appreciated.

The dialog on this subject, up to this point, has been very helpful and I would like to keep it that way. Your suggestions will not be ignored, and parental support is required if we are to continue forward with this program.

Thanks, and I hope to see you Wednesday.

This meeting is especially important in light of the earlier response Fiona reported receiving from Neary Principal Linda Murdoch:

In terms of a parent meeting and a parent vote, I don’t believe that would be appropriate, for a couple of reasons. First of all, overall governance of the schools is done by the school committee, whose members are elected by the townspeople, and school decisions regarding curriculum and instruction are reviewed by school committee, but not put to a popular vote. As you know, the school committee is aware of this project and it has been discussed at the last three school committee meetings, two last spring and at the first one this fall. You can certainly talk with the school committee members and let them know your concerns, but I think the decision-making has to stay with the school committee.

So, apparently if you have concerns about the program, the school committee is the authority to address. If you would like to weigh in on the proposed program, show up at Trottier School’s library on Wednedsday, October 9 at 6:30 pm. (Photo posted to Flickr by flickingerbrad)

1 Matthew October 4, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Since I will be unable to attend the meeting can we get a few contact email address for the school committee members?

Thanks!

2 Jerry Capra October 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Matthew,

You can reach me at

gdcapra@yahoo.com

Jerry Capra
Southborough K-8 School Committee

3 Kathryn K October 4, 2013 at 11:05 PM

I live in Soutborough and my daughter attends Bancroft in Worcester–which is 3 years into an iPad program We have learned a lot the hard way. I would be happy to share the obstacles so that you folks can hopefully mitigate the risks–which are not trivial. I can be reached at K2sboro@yahoo.com.

4 Neil Rossen October 5, 2013 at 2:41 AM

What funding is required for the program and will it have any impact on Southborough taxes?

5 beth October 5, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Neil,

If you read the original post (linked), you will see that the majority of the financial burden is on the parents.

Of course many parents are unhappy with that.

So the funding of this is one of the issues that you can expect them to contest at the meeting.

However, the pilot is planned to begin in January. So, if it proceeds, presumably, the school is confined by the FY14 budget.

6 Al Hamilton October 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Beth

The School and the School Committee are not constrained by the FY 14 (this year) budget. The Superintendent and the School Committee have complete authority to move monies around within the budget. The k-8 School Committee has control of a budget in excess of $17,000,000. of which about $12,000,000 is regular ed.

If this program is critical to providing a quality education, the School Committee can chose to fund it at its next meeting. It has the authority to do so out of the millions that the tax payers have provided. Of course, it would then be required to not spend the funds on something previously planned but that is their choice.

If the committee chooses not to fund this program, then it logically follows, that this program is less important than all of the other activities that the committee chooses to fund. There is no escaping that logic.

7 beth October 5, 2013 at 12:08 PM

My comment was intended to mean that they are constrained by a total school budget – meaning they wouldn’t pursue additional taxes for this at January launch.

8 withheld October 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM

NO, No and more NO’s. Get the kids outside, interacting, socializing and exercising. My associates pre-school class are social misfits and every one has an ipad at home. They have enough electronc gear. Not to be mean but I am including myself, many of the teahcers could use the exercise as well wouldn’t everyone agree? I could!

9 Neil Rossen October 6, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Hear, hear withheld. If parents are so focused on having their kids plugged in continuously, they should fund it. I also recommend a reconsideration of H.G. Wells’ “time machine” story to see the outcomes of such a plugged in future.

10 SBoro parent October 6, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Neil: I believe this pilot was proposed by the school committee and the principal, not the parents. If you’ve read the comments, especially after the original letter a few days ago objecting to the program, you’ll realize that there are many parents who object to it or have reservations about it, not only because of the “plugged in” aspect, but because of cost.

11 Resident October 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Did anyone go to the meeting last night who could provide an update? I don’t have a 4th grader now, but will soon enough.

12 beth October 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

I just posted the story.

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