Friday, October 9, 2015

More Signs of Progress

Yesterday the FCCPS Superintendent, Dr. Jones, published her first "Super Notes." These are worth reading, and indicate that community feedback, including on technology, is being heard.  FCCPS Superintendent Super Notes
First, Dr. Jones apologized for her decision to purchase Apple Watches, and is donating $5000 to the school division. I think this is an important step to put this matter behind us. Rather than the donation, I would have preferred a more explicit statement that the purchase was a mistake, which it was, rather than apologizing because the decision was "divisive or controversial in our community," Nevertheless, this is significant.
The notes also mention that the effectiveness of the watches is being evaluated, which is fine, but if I am elected to the School Board, I would oppose a decision to purchase any more, unless a much, much stronger justification were made than that Apple Watches are helpful to be able "to move around within a reasonable distance without our phones[.]"
Second, the notes say that FCCPS has implemented Internet filtering that varies by grade level - so that seniors can see different things on the Internet than kindergartners. Again, this is an important step that responds to community input, in this case the concerns of about 60 families that wrote to the Superintendent last year. Last year the filtering was the same across all grade levels, and FCCPS was working toward implementation of different filtering for each school. I applauded that move, and asked that it be extended to filtering by grade, Sept. 4 Open Letter to the School Board and it seems that has now been done. Kudos to the FCCPS and its IT staff.
There's more, including on Mt. Daniel, so please take a look.

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