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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Board of Ed Hears of Bus Problems and Technology Plan; Teacher of Year Named

Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon pledged Monday night that problems with late buses involving Saugatuck and Kings Highway Elementary Schools would be solved in the next week or 10 days. Landon spoke in response to a question at a Board of Education meeting that also heard about the new Staples High School technology plan and a revised timetable for occupancy of the new Staples.
Staples physics teacher David Scrofani was named Westport’s teacher of the year. WestportNow.com photo
The meeting at Bedford Middle School followed a reception honoring Staples physics teacher David Scrofani, 32, who had been chosen the districts teacher of the year. He has taught in Westport for nine years and was selected from among eight nominees. The schools superintendent acknowledged that Saugatuck parents had received a letter from the schoolҒs principal, Robert B. Buckley, saying the bus problem might not be resolved until later in the school year. He said the letter was based on a conversation Buckley had with Peter Isabel, transportation coordinator. We believe that is not the case and this needs to be corrected,Ӕ Landon said. He said the problem involved dismissal procedures at a school and the need to readjust some routes, including substituting a smaller bus for a larger one for a student living near the Wilton line. Staples principal John Brady presented the new technology plan and told the board at present his school has a real access problemӔ because there are 1,400 students and only 150 computers. Students come from an interactive, digital world outside of school, but when they arrive at Staples, they hit a digital divide, he said. When we solve the access problem, the learning environment will be greatly enhanced,Ӕ Brady said. Board member Mark Owades expressed some skepticism about the plan, saying most students had computers at home and maybe it wasnt such a bad thing for them to have to spend more time speaking to teachers rather than being on a computer.
Staples principal John Brady explains his school’s technology plan to the Board of Education Monday night. WestportNow.com photo
Steven Halstead, who was board chair when much of the districtҒs technology planning was being done in the 1990s, said he was concerned that not enough money is being allocated to technology, especially at Staples. He noted the budget for the renovation and expansion of the high school had been reduced from $78 million to $73 million. Referring to the shortage of computers at Staples, Halstead said, These are the real outcomes of under funding of technology over the years.Ӕ Board chair Sandra Urist added: We need to recoup those (technology) budgets that we cut.Ӕ Neil Gerhardt, another member, cautioned, however, that funds were not unlimited and needs have to be balanced with available dollars. Member Linda Merk-Gould asked for a timetable specifying technology goals and the required funding. Board members heard from the members of the Staples subcommittee overseeing the expansion and renovation project that their timetable now called for first phase occupancy in December 2005 instead of the earlier projected August 2005. Dan Kail, subcommittee chair, said the move into the new building is now scheduled during the Christmas break of that year. He said the delay will be eased by the availability of new space as the senior center moves from Staples to its new home on Baron’s South.


Posted 09/23/03 at 03:08 AM  Permalink


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