Monday November 19, 2012

DAWSON RASPUZZI

Staff Writer

ARLINGTON -- First-year Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union Superintendent Karen Gallese outlined her professional goals at the Arlington School District's meeting Wednesday, including seeing both the elementary and high schools equipped with wireless Internet as early as this spring.

Arlington has discussed going to wireless Internet in the buildings for the past year, although Gallese said if money is available in a technology sinking she would like to move on it ahead of schedule this spring.

There will be a need for wireless Internet to expand the technology infrastructure in the school, but Gallese said there is already a need to fully use what is already in place at Fisher Elementary and Arlington Memorial Middle and High School. Last school year iPad computers were bought for special educators to use, and two more recent grants have allowed the district to purchase additional iPads, but teachers are not able to use them in ways they would like due to a lack of wireless Internet.

"We cannot use these iPads because we are not wireless," Gallese said. "There's also people in the special education department who have downloaded terrific apps to use with special needs students, again we cannot use that here because we are not wireless."

Gallese also said fourth and fifth grade students who have one-to-one netbook computers must have Internet cords plugged into each computer to use the Web.

Another reason Gallese said the wireless upgrades should be done sooner rather than later is to avoid expensive upgrades to the system that will not need to be done if it goes wireless.

Gallese was unsure how much money is available to do the upgrades in the spring, but the board said it would support the upgrades if there are funds available.

Business Manager Richard Pembroke suggested the district may want to first hire a consultant to map its buildings and determine the best locations for access points. That is what the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union did two years ago before it installed wireless Internet throughout Bennington-area schools. After it is decided where those access points will need to be placed it would then be easier to go out to bid to do the installation, Pembroke said.

In addition to wireless Internet upgrades, Gallese said continuing to upgrade technology in the schools and train all teachers so they are comfortable using it is another goal of hers.

Gallese also listed goals around curriculum, such as continuing to align curriculum with the Common Core Standards that Vermont will implement in 2013 and developing a long range plan for curriculum and professional development.

Other goals she listed include implementing a five-year plan and continuing to grow a "viable and organized superintendent's office" after the entire staff in that office changed prior to the start of this school year.

"For me, I feel as though I have to continue to gain knowledge of the role as a superintendent, bring additional revenues into the union through grants, and establish procedures for new hires, budget process and data collection," she said.

In addition to the superintendent's goals, the BVSU board is expected to discuss other goals it would like to see in the supervisory union later this month.

Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at draspuzzi@benningtonbanner.com or follow on Twitter @DawsonRaspuzzi