Friday, January 23, 2009

The Budget Meets Staff Development

As most of you know, 2009 has not been the best year for finances on either a national, state, or district level. The daily doom and gloom of the budget meeting running various disaster scenarios is depressing, and has direct and explicit impact on our smart classroom project.

First, the state budget and the potential cuts in the PYLUSD budget do NOT affect the Measure A funds. We still have the money to retrofit our classrooms and get the equipment and the installation to change our classrooms. This has not changed!

What has changed is that all district funds and budgets have been frozen to conserve as much money as possible to weather the coming storm. This is absolutely the right thing to do, to save jobs and programs that are vital to our district, community and students. But, this includes all the funds that would support staff development to support the equipment installs. At this moment we cannot get the substitutes to release teachers, or to pay teachers to learn how to use these wonderful tools.

The original professional development plan was a trainer of trainers model. We initially had 12 pilot teachers who had 4 months to use the technology in their classrooms, with the goal of training the teachers at their grade or subject level. This year, two teachers at each school were selected to learn the technology, focus on active learning and student engagement with the goal for them to be the site resources at their schools. Building the capacity at each school to do their own training and support to move the tools into the classrooms of any teacher that wants it. Installing the bulk of the classrooms this summer.

We began the training or our site leaders, and are about half way complete. The new software has just been released and we have no way to get this information out to our site leaders. As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, the progress in finding purchasing vehicles, getting vendors and actually installing technology in the classrooms has been distressingly slow and the site leaders will not have much time to work with the technology this year. Coupled with the elimination of funding, we will need to rethink the timeline; perhaps delaying the original timeline. What do we do?? All thoughts would be more than welcomed!


Anonymous said...

Bob, I know we don't want to drop thousands of dollars of equiptment in a classroom and not have it used well but there are some of us who could basically teach ourselves using the manuals and web resources. I could also see visiting a willing teacher who is already using the system for pointer on our own time after school.

Jackie said...

Well... if I *happen* to be in my classroom this summer and some of the newer techies *happen* to stop by to see the board, then I would be more than willing to show them a few things. You know, incase a few of them *happen* to be in the neighborhood.

What's worse, not being paid for 2-3 hours OR spending thousands and thousands on technology that is not used to its full advantage?? Hmmm...

Kim Voge said...

I have plenty of former students in the tech industry that would install...especially if it is purchased and just sitting there. My husband can build me anything I need as he is a carpenter. My students are dying to get their hands on this technology. Seems to me warranties will run out while it just sits. I will learn how to use it on my own time...I just want it!!!