Professional public school educator (24 years) and trained clinical pastoral education chaplain. Currently active teacher in Connecticut classrooms; 10 years middle level teacher & 14 years administrator (K-12); Norwalk Community College college/career coordinator; Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Columbia University.
Proper organizational leadership, starting with a designated Director of Technology, is needed for distance learning and should have been budgeted late June/early July (not the end of August). Other solutions include: 1. Distance learning should be happening simultaneously for all students (in-school and remote, using a smart doc camera and mic/speaker system). 2. Although there is a shortage of lap tops nationally, interim public sites (using current district computers and internet hubs) could be instituted around Stamford in public buildings or other options (empty corporate buildings). We could have had ‘live’ instruction for all students! 3. A full-time, student phase-in plan needs to be created and shared with public.
In my opinion, the best approach to our physical infrastructure challenges is to reach out to three sources for funding: a) federal level grants (Sen. Blumenthal); b) state level grants; and c) corporate/local donors.
Funding through the PPP was built on wishful thinking and tax dollars were not available to fund the total amount, especially after the 2010 recession and Stamford’s slow economic recovery. Also, only forty percent of our total parent community is able to help pay taxes for the funding of five new schools.
Prioritizing budget re-appropriations begins with safety first. For example, ventilation/black mold building issues is a very serious issue. An interim emergency plan needs to be in place immediately for students/staff exposed to consistent poor ventilation and/or long-term black mold issues (i.e. Toquam & West Hill High School). Unfortunately, I believe SPS is setting itself up for a class action law suit if not addressed immediately.
I believe I can make the most meaningful impact in the area of special education and English Learning programming: 1. We need to review both central office and building level management hierarchies as they now stand. 2. Least Restrictive Environment rules need to be reviewed as to how these students are currently being taught in classrooms. 3. We have several outplacements at the cost of $120,000 per student in the area of special education. 4. IEP’s are being written & finalized by administrators who are not certified in special education. There is bound to be mistakes and future outplacements.