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What The Future Holds

Tech task force committee presents findings  

Garden City schools, like countless others, have been on the information superhighway for quite some time. Now the question becomes, how best to travel that highway in the years to come?

Last spring, the board of education asked for volunteers to form a technology task force committee to ‘identify trends in technology and determine their potential impact’ on schools. A few dozen faculty, students, and community members banded together, and the committee presented their report to the board at a public work session that was held on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the middle school.

“[This update] gives the board a sense of where we want to go, what the [technology] field is doing...and some possible road maps on how we’re going to get there,” said district superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen.

The task force was divided up into three subcommittees: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which focused on social media and how students will use new technology; Digital Content, which examined the role of teachers in selecting classroom management platforms, and Technical Advisory, which dealt with technology infrastructure on the district level.

Social media and smart devices can be powerful tools in the hands of students, and not necessarily in a positive way.

High school librarian Margaux Calemmo brought forth the recommendations of the BYOD committee, which would include the registration of all personally owned devices with the district. Students would be permitted to the school’s secured wireless network only, with no access to a private 4G network, for example. This would ensure that only district approved websites could be accessed. The committee did recommend that BYOD privileges be extended to grades 5-12, but that social media sites are to be used for educational purposes only. Twitter, Google Drive and YouTube are the free sites the committee suggests.

High school science teacher Michael Stano was among those from the Digital Content committee on hand. His group has recommended Edmodo.com as the district-wide classroom management platform.

“Students often say, I don’t know what the homework is, I didn’t see it on the board, the website wasn’t working... I could give you a thousand excuses,” Stano said. “Edmodo takes all those excuses away.”

Stano did say that more staff development is needed as new technology is put in place. He would like to see a full-time technology integration staff developer brought on board to assist teachers in implementing technology. Also, a potential collaboration with Adelphi University’s school of education would allow college students to ‘teach the teachers’ about technology in the classroom.

No technology advancement is possible without the backbone of a functioning network infrastructure. All cabling installation of wireless access points has been completed, and the BYOD will slowly be rolled out over the next couple years. The Technology task force says the current technical support system is inefficient in that highly technical, along with basic tasks, are handled by the same staff. They would like to see technology aides hired for each school, along with the creation of a ‘GC Tech Squad’, which will be made up of high school tech savvy students who can help device users with any problem.

Of course, there’s always the question of money. The district-wide tech budget has not changed for several years and the task force as a whole says an increase is necessary. Expenditures on new laptops/tablets, staff development and wireless licensing would increase the budget over the next few years.

The school board was in agreement that there’s no slowing down technology, but that they would have to decide which expenditures are needed and which are not.

Dr. Feirsen says technology will not fully replace traditional instruction or staff-created content, and that costs, along with monitoring of student online activity, are issues the board will be mulling over as they review the task force findings.

However, it should be clear, according to board trustee Tom Pinou, that his board is in fact on-board, online, onward into the future.

“Information is power, if we can deliver it the right way to our students,” Pinou said. “If we can give that technology edge to our students, that will have a monumental effect on us all.”

News

Have you considered adding running to your exercise regimen but not sure how to get started? Are you concerned about past injuries? Runners, from experienced to beginner, are sidelined every year due to injury. Physical Therapy Options (PTO) wants to help runners get off to a great start this fall and is pleased to offer the community an opportunity to receive a free comprehensive “Running Analysis.”

 

Physical Therapist Lisa Coors, founder of PTO, views this offering as part of PTO’s mission to help patients live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. 

Yard sale announced

 

The Garden City Bird Sanctuary/Tanners Pond Environmental Center recently announced its annual Fall Benefit Yard Sale. The sale will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., located outdoors inside the front gate at the sanctuary. Vendors are being sought. A 10 x 17 foot selling area is $45 for the day. (Includes space for selling & space to park one car next to selling space)


Sports

Dance Conservatory Program

 

The Garden City Recreation Department’s Dance Conservatory Program is pleased to announce the start of registration for its upcoming 2014-15 season. Director Felicia Lovaglio, along with Mary Searson and the rest of her staff, are excited to start off another fantastic year. The dance conservatory offers classes to Garden City residents ages 3 through adult which are non-performance based. Age is determined by the start date of the desired class. 

 

Note: Registration is by mail only until Sept. 23. Participants MUST be the required age by the start of the program in order to register. 

 

Each session costs $220 for 22 weeks of class. The schedule and fees for this year’s youth classes are as follows (all classes are 55 minutes long unless otherwise noted): 

Fall Children’s Tennis Classes

Registration for the start of the Fall 2014 Indoor Tennis Program for Children has begun at the Community Park Tennis Center. Walkins and non-resident children attending Garden City Public Schools* will be accepted beginning Sept. 11. Please make checks payable to the “Inc. Village of Garden City." Please note—classes are not considered day care and can not be declared for tax exemption.

* Non resident children who would like to register for the tennis program must prove they attend one of the Garden City Public Schools. Proof must accompany registration. An additional $50 fee will pertain to anyone in this category.

10 weeks of classes—classes will begin Thursday, Sept. 18


Calendar

Living With Pulmonary Fibrosis Program - September 18

Harpeth Rising Concert - September 19 

JV Football - September 20


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com