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Posted: 01/30/13

RCS staff, parents to
determine tech rollout

Observer Staff Writer
      Discussions on technology implementation have begun as the Romeo Community Schools district anticipates $16.4 million in bond funding to arrive next month.
       A total of 53 individuals have come together to determine the best way for the school district to roll out promises made with the approval of a technology bond.
       Five groups were formed on Jan. 23, made up of staff, administrators, board members and community members. Each group will focus on a particular task, including communications, technology platforms, professional development, teaching and learning and policies.
       "The overarching goal is to have the most successful technology bond implementation on the planet," said Superintendent Nancy Campbell. "We'll do this by learning and investigating what others have done nationwide."
       Campbell said the groups are all expected to communicate and discuss their goals during the next five months, whether it's choosing the right device or determining what opportunities are available for teachers to learn about 21st century learning.
       The next combined meeting of the groups will be at 7 p.m. on March 5 at the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center.
       Campbell said one of the main questions asked by residents is what type of device each student will receive and when they will receive them. She said the time line for rolling out the technology is still in question, as the district won't receive the funding from the bonds until Feb. 20.
       "I think everyone wants the devices, but we need time," she said. "Even if we had them, we couldn't use them because we don't have the infrastructure to use them."
       Mark Nelson, executive director of technology, said the district is putting together information to send out bids for installing a new wireless and wired network instrastructure. He said the bids probably won't go out until March, with the majority of work slated for the summer.
       "During that time we can start other plans," he said.
       Nelson co-chairs the group that will help recommend what device to choose. He said the goal is to have them in the hands of students by the start of the next school year.
       "I want to make sure we do an objective comparison between the options we have that fit in with the goals of teaching and learning," he said.
       He said the importance of having the multiple groups to work on the plan is to gain the thoughts and information from people that voted on the bond.
       "They're all stakeholders and definitely affect the plan," he said. "We ensure it's successful and not just a group of a couple of people making the decisions."
       The community passed the eight-year technology bond on Nov. 6 with 50.5 percent voting "yes" to 49.5 "no" votes.

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