2020 Focus Area #2: TECHNOLOGY

The district spent two years largely ignoring the sirens and warning lights on Empower before finally announcing that it was pulling the plug on it last spring. (It’s a slooooow plug-pulling, though, as elementary school students and their families are still stuck with software we know doesn’t work this year.)

The return to Parent Portal was an obvious tactical move which for the time-being is adequate, but it doesn’t address the larger issues here.

The district’s Technology page offers only the most general roadmap for the next decade — and like many other district initiatives, offers no indication of how we are measuring if our technology usage is providing the value we expect. (For instance, how are we determining if giving Chromebooks to third-, fourth- and fifth-graders is effective?)

The district’s technology strategy needs to be more clearly defined and communicated. Is Portal the long-term solution or do we need a new learning management system, for instance? How do we determine what the requirements for that system are? Do we have the right resources to carry out these large system rollouts? How do we collect and respond to feedback from students, teachers, and parents? Have we done enough to ensure data privacy? (There seems to be broad agreement, for instance, on tightening up district policies that allowed e-mail addresses to be requested by pro- and anti-referendum groups last fall.)

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