Prepared Text for Board Meeting Ė May 19, 2008

Marc A. Schare614 791-0646 Home

614 791-0067 Work - 614 791-1779 Fax

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Tonight, I have one comment and two notes of a personal nature.

 

Iíd like to request an update on the roll-out of the E-Sembler tool for parent-teacher-student communications. My interest was sparked by a district-wide email offering professional development for the MindSponge software.

 

I have a lot of respect for the students who adapted the moodle open-source software package and created the Mindsponge product at Thomas Worthington. In creating Mindsponge, they identified a problem endemic in our school district, the lack of a single, consistent, unified facility to allow teachers, parents and students to all be on the same page when it comes to grades, assignments, homework and attendance.

 

While I am usually a strong proponent of open-source software, the district has wisely chosen to go another direction and adapt the E-Sembler product as its standard to solve this problem. We have been using E-Sembler successfully in our middle schools and it is time to roll the product out district wide.

 

Iíve been told that we are considering making the use of E-Sembler optional. I strongly disagree. For E-Sembler to solve the problem, it must become engrained in the culture in all of our buildings. Parents have to know that they can check their kids homework assignments, grades or attendance in a few clicks, regardless of grade level and regardless of class.

 

I donít think I would get much debate that one of the strongest predictors of student success is parental involvement. The mandatory use of E-Sembler would give parents the tools they need to see what homework assignments are due, how well their students are doing, what areas need improvement and so forth.

 

E-Sembler is a very sophisticated tool. When fully rolled out, parents would be able to request automated notifications whenever homework is late, a child fails a test or if the teacher detects a problem with the student. Not a day goes by when we donít talk about Worthingtonís attempts to provide a 21st century education. Let us provide our teachers and parents with 21st century tools. I reiterate my request for a presentation on the success of the E-Sembler software in the middle schools and the rollout of E-Sembler for all grade levels.

 

Finally, two notes of a personal nature. First, I am humbled and honored and more than little surprised to be one of 350 people selected to participate in Governor Stricklandís Institute on Creativity and Innovation in Public Education. According to the invitation letter, the Governor believes that if we are to position Ohio for a vibrant economic future as well as maintain our strong democracy, we must build upon our heritage of creativity and innovation. That means our educational systems must be fluid and flexible enough for creativity and innovation, and agile enough to adapt to the demands of our changing state and world.Also considered was the need for citizens to have a better understanding of the true complexity of our new global world and its impact on the next generation of employment, before we can expect them to engage in meaningful reform efforts.

 

I could not agree more with Governor Strickland on this topic and I look forward to contributing to his efforts.

 

My second note of personal privilege is to invite everyone to the final performances of ďThe Odd CoupleĒ this coming weekend at Thomas Worthington High School. If you come, keep in mind the valuable tip that you should avoid sitting in the first row unless you really, really like the smell of Lysol disinfectant. It is very difficult to laugh and cough at the same time.