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Tech Standards in the Works for State College Schools

on November 23, 2010 10:15 AM

The State College Area school board may soon set district-wide technology-competence standards for individual grade levels, for subject areas and for employees.

Discussed in concept at the board meeting Monday night, the standards would be consistent with a federal National Educational Technology Plan. The idea, several board members said, is to establish more carefully defined expectations as technology and multi-media functions become more central in education and society at large.

"One of our goals is getting parents more involved in education" through technology use, board member David Hutchinson said.

To that end, one of the tentatively proposed standards would increase online learning options and make more electronic learning records available to parents of students under the age of 18.

The school board's Climate, Culture and Learning Subcommittee is writing and refining the proposed standards, which read as a set of general goals. They're expected to be formalized with a board vote in early December.

Tentatively proposed standards include these:

  • Learning resources should be available anytime and anywhere.
  • All faculty members, employees and students should have Internet-access devices. Such devices may not necessarily be supplied by the district, but they should be compatible with district standards for usage and security.
  • Technology-rich sections should be developed for some existing courses.
  • Faculty and staff members should create virtual communities where best teaching practices are shared.

In other developments at the Monday board meeting, board Secretary Mary Jenn Dorman reported that President Ann McGlaughlin and Vice President Jim Pawelczyk received three nominations apiece to retain their respective leadership positions for 2011. The board is scheduled to select its 2011 leaders at its Dec. 6 meeting.

Also Monday:

  • The Communications Subcommittee recommended that the full board try a phased approach to make its meetings nearly paperless. Starting next month, the board members are expected to rely more on electronic delivery of meeting documents. If the initial steps go well, they may move all meeting documents to electronic delivery by early 2011. (Paper copies of meeting documents are expected to remain available for public use.)
  • The district Citizens' Advisory Committee for Private Fundraising is looking at potential naming opportunities in elementary schools, board member Richard Bartnik said. Current district policy allows for the naming of individual rooms and other school facilities if a private donor contributes 50 percent or more of a particular facility's costs. Right now, Bartnik said, the committee is identifying which elements of elementary schools may be eligible for naming. Next it will gauge community interest in such options, he said.
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