Trumbull's Board of Education approved its three year state mandated Technology Plan at its May 15 meeting.
Business Manager Steve Sirico presented district financials showing $1.524 million unencumbered at the end of April. He estimated $1.0 million to $1.1 million would remain at the June 30 fiscal year end, barring a “catastrophic event.”
A new law allows a Board of Education to carry over up to one percent of one year’s budget ($874,448 here) to the next. The $1.32 million budget cut made by First Selectman Tim Herbst forces the board to use the entire carryover amount to fund the $875,000 cost of the start up of Full Day Kindergarten.
Member Tom Kelly asked about retaining other unspent funds. Superintendent Ralph Iassogna said this will be addressed at the June 5 meeting. If no decision is made this fiscal year, they must be returned to the General Fund.
Curriculum Director Dr. Linda Paslov and Technology Manager Jeff Hackett presented Trumbull's state mandated Three Year Technology Plan.
Its five sections cover building and maintaining system wide infrastructure, professional development, technology-based instruction, student assessment and administrative processing.
Funding the plan is projected to cost $1.396 million over next three years for elementary and middle school equipment purchases. $662,000 will be spent next year to acquire additional SMART boards, replacement computers and enhanced infrastructure.
Discussion focused first on parent access to student assessments and report cards. Ms. Labella noted that “information is inconsistent,” and must be standardized and increased.
Responding to Ms. Labella’s question about cloud computing, Hackett said it moves file storage from in-house servers to large, secure third party owned server farms. One example, he pointed out, is that students use Google Docs, applications comparable to Microsoft Word and Excel, but stored on Google’s servers. This makes them accessible anytime from anywhere and assuring they are never lost or corrupted.
He talked about another emerging technology, Bring Your Own Technology. Schools will provide sufficient bandwidth (in-building wireless access), security, filtering (blocking age inappropriate sites from students) and cloud storage capacity for students to use their own laptops, netbooks, iPads and tablets in class. BYOT reduces the number of computers the district must buy and maintain.
Member Loretta Chory asked how the 400 iPads being purchased will be used. Ms. Paslov said the district “is still exploring, and not jumping into iPad usage.” One plan is to use them to replace notebooks that were to be placed in every classroom, Hackett said. IPads are “better productivity tools at all levels.”
The plan was unanimously approved.
Two other policies were presented. A new attendance policy caps absences a student may have before his record is reviewed. Enough students were missing classes that a formal policy with sanctions that deprive a student of course credit is needed. This policy will be brought back for its required second reading.
The second concerned building naming. The question is what is an appropriate “threshold of greatness?” Iassogna recommended requiring multitude factors and cited Coach McDougall as a model. This policy will also be brought back for a required second reading.
THS Student Achievements
Student Education Board Representative Patrick Curtin said good bye and introduced three of the four THS juniors named to replace him and Emma Connelly (Jason Nagel, Erin Puglia and Justin Puzzio).
He presented recent outstanding achievements by fellow THS students. Trillium, the yearbook, was again honored as Best Book in New England. Curtin added that it has become a model for other schools. The Robotics and Forensics clubs received awards for excellence. The Model UN Club sponsored a large and successful event that drew students from many area schools.
Curtin and Ms. Connelly started a Student Leadership Council with 20 students. The group will lead programs to reduce cyberbullying and raise school spirit.
Teacher Representative Karen Rodrigues told the board she acted as a chaperone for the THS Choir’s trip to France. She had nothing but praise for the students’ behavior and professional demeanor. She called the trip “a gift they can’t get anywhere,” and said “the money for substitutes was well spent.”