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MOn - School Board q&A

August 28, 1998

Primary Forums '98

How would you address the problem of out-of-date computer equip. and lagging technology in many schools?

Paul W. Bailey: Washington County will be required to address the issue of keeping computer hardware and software at a current level immediately. The system must first make use of what is available at the moment and begin the restoring process on a planned schedule. Some recent data indicates that computer labs are being used at 50 percent capacity.

Lenora Barnhart: For our children to compete in the 21st century we need to update our computer equipment and provide technological training to our teachers. One creative way of funding a state-of-the-art technology program, would be to recruit local business into a partnership with the school system.

B. Marie Byers: Opportunities to provide planned technology improvements would include applying for grants and foundation money, continuing and expanding valuable business partnerships for all schools, and establishing financing with lease purchase agreements. We had the opportunity to attain a $300,000 investment of computers from a reputable firm for $100,000 with the ability to receive updated computers in a three-year cycle this spring.

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W. Gordon Crabb: First, require a comprehensive system computer equipment status. Secondly, establish a clear goal of where we want to be. Then develop an all-inclusive plan, defining all elements in a time-phased, cost time-phased manner with specific responsibilities assigned. All inclusive means hardware, software, training, installation and procurement. Funding must be addressed jointly by the board and County Commissioners.

William R. Cunningham: Computer Technology updates can be addressed in part by business-school partnerships. Businesses may be able to offer help both in training and by providing equipment to the schools. By utilizing long-range planning, money can be allocated in the budget to address the technology update issue over a longer period of time. Hagerstown Community College may help with computer expertise.

Philip G. Goldman: The computer systems in our schools should be appropriate for the student body. Children who can't read or write at grade levels should be learning to read and write. Only advanced students need advanced technology and it should be provided for them only. Look at the success of the computer program at North High with a competent instructor.

Christina Hammer-Atkins: I believe that the local community and businesses should be tapped to help schools with their computer problems and updating. We have a wealth of resources in Washington County that just needs to be tapped.

J. Herbert Hardin: The Board of Education technology personnel proposed five-year plans for funding technology in Washington County. Additional funding is needed for the 1998-99 school year for computer hardware, software, networking, and teacher training. The five-year plan requested millions for total county use. The county this week received grants for two elementary schools to develop their technology. Still it is not enough.

Ricky A. Hockensmith: I refer to "The Curriculum Management Audit of Washington County Public Schools," Standard 5, Finding 5.4, which addresses the concern of technology initiatives "head-on." I agree with the audit's finding that technology planning must be improved to maximize the benefit to our students and educators.

Robert L. Kline: We can only purchase computer equipment with the money that is allocated in the budget for this project. The help of more business and private sectors getting involved in this would help.

Mildred L. Myers: By establishing a working relationship with the business community. We should make use of what this area can offer in supplies, expertise and the knowledge of what our students need to stay in step with technology. We should also review other systems to find other methods that are working. We need to reach out for ideas.

Doris J. Nipps: At this point in time, our best resource is grant money and one time technology monies from the county government. Donations from private industry have helped, but not nearly to the extent needed. The biggest urgency is in the business labs of our high schools. As those computers are replaced, that equipment can be moved to other needy locations.

Stephen Popper: Specific goals of the Technology Plan and how it facilitates the curriculum must be determined. Technology must significantly impact curriculum or it won't be used no matter how "high tech.." The purpose of the curriculum is to "educate" the student. What are the goals of education - train for a specific job, or develop general thinking skills and citizenship qualities?

David L. Resh Sr.: To address the problem of computer equipment and related technology, I would request the elected board direct the superintendent to develop a plan of action in which the desired level of technology and training needs were defined for each school. Once that plan is developed and endorsed by the elected board, I, with the elected board would explore funding options.

Mary Wilfong: Through research and based on our needs, we should develop a long-term plan to update and purchase computer equipment and programs. We need to explore the possibilities of creative funding involving business partnerships and grants. Computer training for teachers is of the utmost importance.




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