Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Advocating for School Technology: Amherst Board of Education Meeting

For years I've felt that my children's school district (Amherst CSD) is lacking the most essential piece of the school technology puzzle: Tech coaches.  Tech coaches are educators with years of classroom experience and are highly proficient with using instructional technologies.  They work alongside teachers and students, providing the BEST kind of professional development- ongoing, relevant and job embedded.  In other words--they've mastered both the pedagogy and technical skills needed to leverage 21st century digital tools in our classrooms.

Tech coaches are especially needed more than ever, since our teachers are swamped with so many new initiatives on their plate (APPR, Common Core, realignment of curriculum, etc).  Our teachers are just trying to keep their heads above water and therefore any hope for independent research and learning new technologies just isn't feasible.  Tech coaches fulfill that void.  They research, collaborate, and perform focused, "just-in-time" training on an ongoing basis.  Thanks to tech coaches, the quality of school technology is more likely to stay current over the years instead of falling behind the times.

I spoke during both of the residents wishing to speak public commentary section of the board meeting, you can view my comments HERE.

Embedded below is the audio from the entire 2 hour Amherst Board of Education meeting on March 19th 2013.  You may also listen to it on YouTube HERE.



Here are parts I found especially interesting:
2:04   Rob Zdrojewski, advocating for Tech Coaches
5:35   James Gramke, open meetings law
8:20   Gordon Crock, budgeting for utilities
1:09:00   Leslie Kramer, BOE member, talking about "maintenance mode" budgeting
1:12:00   Dr. Illana Lane, BOE member, talking about past cuts and maintaining quality
1:46:07   Rob Zdrojewski, closing remarks about "maintenance mode" and levy limit
1:46:51   Gordon Crock, asks to reexamine how close utilities are budgeted for
1:48:50   James Gramke, suggests we explore past cuts to remind voters of what's been cut
1:51:18   Todd Morse, inquired about opting out of standardized testing