Region 1 teachers outline technology needs
BY RUTH EPSTEIN
FALLS VILLAGE — Technology needs are a priority for several of the department chairmen at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. They were invited to a Region 1 Board of Education budget workshop Thursday to detail their requests.
Art teacher Warren Prindle talked about the two Mac labs, the old and the new, describing several computers in the old one as “dysfunctional.” The old machines cannot be used for certain courses, such as computer animation and photography. “At any time there is a demand on the new lab and we use the old one as backup,” he said.
Scott Fellows, chairman of the math department, noting the huge push for technology in the Common Core standards, said it is difficult to schedule students into the computer lab. If there were computers in the math classrooms, they would be available to the students “at the ready” and provide for spontaneous teaching opportunities. He is asking for 25 computers to go in five classrooms.
Damon Osora of the English department talked about the advantages of Chromebook for the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium and the language arts component of Common Core. But, he said, they need to be seen as an everyday learning tool, not just for assessments. He said the social studies department is also requesting Chromebook.
Paul Padua, head of the tech ed and business ed departments, said the black and white photography class was probably the best subscribed class at the school. But the previous administration decided the course didn’t need to be taught at Housatonic, so it was taken out. When asked if he’d like to see it restored, Padua said he would love to. The dark room, materials and equipment are still there.
Asked why it was taught in industrial arts and not art, Padua said historically it’s been in his department, but it can be part of either one. Prindle said when art school representatives visited Housatonic on two occasions, they said having both traditional film and computer labs is great.
Padua said black and white photography is not listed in next year’s course of study. “We need to get the message out if we’re going to reinstate it.”
Music teacher Tom Krupa spoke about instrument replacement. He told how when he came to the school he found the vibraphone in pieces on the floor. It was gerry rigged back together, but now the motor is dead. “The motor is now louder than the instrument,” he told board members.
He also hopes to buy a new french horn, as there is increased interest and next year there will be five players.
Vance Cannon, the library media specialist, talked about e-books, noting that they are not borrowed as much as regular books. Asked about the weeding practices, he said the rate of circulation is a determinate. “But there are just some books you must have. Just because it hasn’t moved doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. Moby Dick doesn’t go.” He said the weeding process is a long one, since each book must be evaluated. Those that are removed and are still in fairly good condition go the transfers station in Falls Village. If they are in very poor condition, they are discarded.
The board will discuss the requests at a workshop on Feb. 19 at 5 p.m.