School District Considers Updated Tech Plan

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The school board is considering an updated educational technology plan and continued any decision on it at Tuesday night’s board meeting until the newly appointed superintendent, Dr. Fred Navarro, can look it over.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education postponed the plan following approval by the California Department of Education on June 13.

The district needs to have a state approved tech plan in order to receive any CDE education technology funds and participate in various state programs, as well as the federal E-rate program and any future Enhancing Education Through Technology funds that may become available.

“This technology plan will guide the district with a road map for the use of technology to support improved student learning,” the 95-page document states.

The plan outlines the needs, current resources, and goals for the following areas of technology use and support: Curriculum, professional development, infrastructure, funding and budget, monitoring and evaluation,  and effective collaboration with adult literacy.

The total estimated cost to implement the plan for all three years is $18,694,998. This total includes certificated salaries, classified salaries, employee benefits, books and supplies (including computers, electronic learning and staff development resources), services (including maintenance, network systems and software licenses), operating expenses, travel, and capital outlay (infrastructure improvements).

“We will implement the three-year technology plan with the known annual technology budget and new funding opportunities that may arise,” the district states in the tech plan document. “We plan to set aside 25 percent of the annual technology plan budget for professional development with the remaining 75 percent going toward hardware, software, infrastructure, and technical support.”

Funds will come from the district general fund, Title II-D, and portions of Title I, EIA and Title V, K-12 Voucher Program (Microsoft Settlement), Measure F, and school foundations, donations, PTAs, PFOs and other site-based organizations. Each type of funding goes toward specific materials, equipment, and various services.

The tech plan also outlines the curriculum-driven technology goals and how technology will support the districts goals of raising the level of literacy, raising the level of numeracy and integrating information literacy. The detailed outlines include the tech plan’s own objectives and benchmarks.

Several professional development goals have also been included in the plan.

The district hopes to embed technology and literacy skills within the normal course of instruction and make technology an integral part of student records, assessment and data analysis.

“The appropriate use of technology is a powerful tool for improving instruction and student learning,“ the plan states. “Technology promotes improved communication among teachers, parents, students, administrators and the community.”

The document goes on to list the ways students, teachers and administrators use technology and that Technology Leadership Teams will be formed, per the recommendation of the district’s Educational Technology Advisory Committee. Teachers, the administrator, library personnel, and parents will be included on the teams, which will monitor the use of technology at each school site and assist in site implementation of the tech plan.

The district conducted a needs assessment for the use of technology in September of last year, based on information from the “National Speak Up Survey, formal conversations with the leadership team and principals as well as informal conversations with teachers and site technology coordinators.”

According to the district’s System Management Appliance data, an in-depth inventory conducted annually at every school site, 100 percent of classrooms across the district have an internet connection, but some schools without extended, or before or after school, computer access.

The Speak Up survey showed that 100 percent of administrators use technology daily in some way or another, while students’ frequency vary from daily to just once a week.

The EdTechProfile online technology proficiency assessment showed that only six percent of teachers felt they needed to develop their basic computer and technology skills and the rest of the teachers surveyed wanted to learn how to better integrate technology into the curriculum.

The EdTechProfile assessment also concluded that 48 percent of teachers wanted technology training to be during the school day, rather than after school (28 percent), during the summer or off time (20 percent), on the weekend (three percent) or in the evening (zero percent).

According to Site Tech Coordinator Computer Survey, out of a total of 5,736 student computers, 2,323 are from 2005 or older.

According to the plan, the district needs to purchase 868 more computers to reach the desired 6-1 computer-to-student ratio within the first year. During the second year, the district would need to remove outdated computers and purchase approximately 942 new computers to reach the goal or 5.5-1 ratio. And to maintain that ratio in the last year of the plan, the district would need to remove old computers and buy an additional 1,016.

Approximately 20 percent of all student computers will be replaced annually, based on age.

The district also predicts an increased demand for portable computers and hand-held devices, like the tablet.

The proposed plan also noted that the district tries to move along with technology trends, preferring to use web-based programs and resources.

Also during Tuesday night’s meeting, the board also approved the destruction of 27 boxes of special education student records for students born in 1986.

The California Code of Regulations states that the records must be retained until the student reaches age 22, but the district has been advised to keep them until the student turns 25 so that they will be available in the event of a student filing for Due Process.

The board also approved an agreement with Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. for “special accounting and consulting services” related to the Prop. 39 audit for Measure F. Another contract retaining Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. as district auditor for the next three school years was also approved.

The company has been the district auditor for the past several years.

. The agreement retaining Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. as district auditor is not to exceed $50,000 for each of the three years, plus additional payments for travel. The agreement has been reduced by $3,000 from the 2011-2012 contract.

The Prop 39 audit of Measure F funds agreement is not to exceed $8,000 for each year over the next three school years.

The board also approved agreements for internet software, plumbing repair and maintenance, construction revisions for the Sanborn building, design services middle school enclave project at Costa Mesa High School, among others.

A full school board agenda can be viewed on the district website, www.nmusd.us

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