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About WSESU > Technology Plan

Below is the text of the Executive Summary of the WSESU Technology Plan. The full plan - written in 1999 and revised in 2000 - is available in PDF format: Technology Plan PDF. A new plan is slated for completion in 2002.

Executive Summary

This document - the WSESU Information Technology Plan - is intended to be a roadmap detailing how the Supervisory Union will provide students with the information technology skills that they will need in the future. The plan was written by members of the WSESU Technology Committee. It arises from WSESU's overall planning document - The WSESU Strategic Plan. It is intended that this plan be revised on a yearly basis and that representatives from the broader Brattleboro community be included in the revision process.

The communities served by WSESU are demographically and economically diverse. The standard measure of poverty in school populations - percentage of students eligible for free or reduced cost school lunches - shows wide variability with a high of 78% at Canal Street School to a low of 12% at Dummerston School. Despite this diversity, there are organizations in the Brattleboro community - businesses, educational institutions, local governments, etc. - that have a stake in the local K-12 education process across all schools in the Supervisory Union (SU).

The diversity of the schools in the SU is to some degree reflected in the differing levels of development of information technology infrastructure, hardware, software and training at each school. However, some generalizations can be made.

Infrastructure: All but one of the schools has classrooms networked. All but two schools has or will shortly have 56kbps connections providing internet service to all computers connected to the network. There is an electronic bulletin board (the Brattleboro Educational Bulletin Board - BrEDboard) that provides free email and limited Usenet service to all schools and to the community.

Equipment: With a few exceptions, equipment in the schools is Apple Macintosh computers of very mixed vintage. The ratio of students to new (that is, network-able and internet-capable) computers ranges from about 8:1 at Brattleboro Area Middle School to 20:1 at Green Street School. It is fair to say that most students and most teachers in WSESU do not have ready access to computers for significant parts of the school day.

Software: Software available in schools is primarily office combination software (word processor/ spreadsheet/ database) or web browsers. Many schools provide simple multimedia authoring tools such as HyperCard to some students. Graphic applications such as Photoshop are provided on an even more limited basis.

Training: The WSESU Technology Committee has promulgated a variety of teacher training opportunities - ranging from for-credit, week-long summer courses to afternoon workshops. However, opportunities for in-service training for teachers are at a premium.

Curriculum: The WSESU Technology Committee has written a developmentally based information technology curriculum for grades K-12. Several instructional strands, including telecommunications, word processing, database, spreadsheet, graphics and ethical use of technology are identified. However, implementation of the curriculum is nowhere near complete in the SU, with word processing the farthest along and telecommunications, database and spreadsheet instruction lagging behind.

Working from this current state, goals can be identified that must be reached in order to achieve the vision for WSESU laid out in the Strategic Plan. Goals are identified in four areas. For administrative functions, all record keeping, purchasing and administrative data exchange functions need to be electronically mediated. There needs to be equitable access for students, teachers and administrators, to the tools of technology throughout the school day and for there to be adequate resources to maintain this infrastructure. Next, there must be full implementation of the information technology curriculum. Finally, staff must be fully trained in the appropriate use of technology, basic operation of equipment, the integration of technology into curriculum, and in specific computer applications.

Next, a desired state can be identified - what will our system look like when we achieve our goals? In the desired state, purchases of servers and workstations and for cabling for local area networks will meet minimum standards established in the plan. Also, site licenses for software sufficient to meet all goals laid out in the information technology curriculum will be available. Most importantly, workstations sufficient to reach a target of 5:1 students to new computers will be available. Scanners, CD-ROM drives, digital cameras and other peripheral devices will also be available. All classrooms will be networked and will have access to the internet. Technical support staff and resources will be available to maintain the established infrastructure.

In order to reach this desired state, action needs to be taken on a variety of fronts including the following. Individual schools will need to purchase the software and equipment needed to implement the technology curriculum and to provide equitable access throughout the day. WSESU will give compensation to teachers in each school to provide technical support. The WSESU Technology Committee will more carefully analyze training needs and continue to provide a spectrum of professional development activities. Funding for these activities will have to come from individual school boards' regular budgets. Beyond that, WSESU is seeking funds and support from a variety of other sources, including local businesses and grants.

Monitoring and evaluation of this plan will remain the responsibility of the WSESU Technology Committee. Additionally, efforts will be made to obtain feedback and support from community stakeholders identified in the plan. Revisions to the plan and reports to stakeholders will be made on a yearly basis.

 

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Updated: March 9, 2011