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Smart Schools, SRO discussed at S-GI

SPRINGVILLE—The Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education approved a Smart Schools Initiative preliminary plan to improve technology and infrastructure. The district was awarded $1,690,068 through New York’s Smart School Initiative.

Improvements to technology, including mobile devices and replacing outdated Smart Boards, and upgrades to the district’s technology infrastructure are included in the plan.

“We really took the time to see what our needs are,” said JoAnn DePue, director of technology, data and assessment. “It’s a long term plan to spend the money over time to benefit the district.”

Student mobile devices will be on a five year replacement plan, upgrades to labs, desktops and servers and digital displays are all included in the instructional technology plan, at a cost of $1,190,068.

The remaining $500,000 will be used to upgrade signal strength, fiber connection and the ability to support the network after a power outage.

DePue explained the process is lengthy and requires approval from the New York State Education Department.

“It’s about a one year turn around,” Superintendent Kimberly Moritz said. “There was a lot of strategic thinking because of the long approval plan.”

There will be a 30 day public comment period, followed by a public hearing in July.

DePue reported on safety improvements being made in the district. A new security system is being installed, through the capital project, which will scan the IDs of visitors and includes a face-level camera. The district is also using STOPit, an anonymous app that allows students and staff to report concerning behavior.

Following along the lines of safety, Moritz asked the board to allow her to further research a full time school resource officer.

“A lot has happened in the world and that impacts my thinking,” Moritz said. “We’re doing a lot of things better. I think an SRO will help.”

Conversations with students, which have included the possibility of a school shooter and how the students would react, prompted Moritz to request more information.

“It bothers me every time I heard a conversation from students … on what they’d do,” she said. “I do believe we should move forward with a full time SRO.”

Currently, the district shares an SRO with North Collins, through funding from Senator Patrick Gallivan’s office. The district did budget for a full time SRO last year, but utilized the funding elsewhere. The board approved Moritz gathering more information.

“[An SRO] is there to help and teach … with things like social media conduct,” board member Jennifer Sullivan said. “I think that’s helpful, too. Students are here to learn and they should feel safe.”

Jessica Schuster supported Moritz, but asked about support staff for students who are struggling. She noted offering more support to students should be explored, too.

“There really is not one answer,” board member Tyler Sullivan said. “There’s a lot of factors. I think an SRO is a safety measure we can implement now while we look for a long term solution.”

In other news:

– The board supported student initiative in the middle school to reduce the use of single use plastic.

– Approved results from the May 15 school budget vote and board election.

– Approved Bond Resolutions for the purchase of school buses and the P-TECH program.

The S-GI board of education will next meet July 10, it will include the public hearing on the Smart Schools Initiative and the reorganizational meeting.


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