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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

September is Library Card Sign-up Month

Back to school means back to the Garden City Public Library. September is not only back to school month, it is also Library Card Sign-up Month. A library card is the most important school supply of all for both students and their parents. This September be sure your library card is in your wallet. If you don’t have one, sign up for a new one for you and for your children.

The Garden City Public Library offers programs for adults and for children of all ages. In addition, the library provides access to an extensive collection of books, periodicals, music CDs, audiobooks, and DVDS. The library also provides online access through its website www.gardencitypl.org to authoritative electronic databases as well as to downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, and music. With a valid library card, you can register for programs, borrow materials and museum passes, and access electronic resources.

The Garden City Historical Society is gearing up for a really big celebration. In 2015, the Society will mark the 40th anniversary of its founding, and the 10th anniversary of the opening of The Garden City Historical Society Museum.

To observe these two significant milestones and to further the Society’s capital campaign to restore the exterior of the museum building, the Society is planning a special event on May 14, 2015 at the Garden City Hotel. Early next year, an invitation to attend will be extended to residents and businesses in the village. The gala will include an open bar and full buffet, with music, mystery guests, a live auction and raffles.


Sports

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League

2014-15 Garden City Recreation Department Dance Conservatory

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. The schedule and fees for this year’s youth classes are as follows (all classes are 55 minutes long unless otherwise noted):

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.


Calendar

Village Board of Trustees Meeting

Thursday, October 2

Benefit Yard Sale Goes To The Birds

Saturday, October 4

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 6



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com