iPads for Rock Hill students by August?

scetrone@heraldonline.comDecember 9, 2012 

  • More information

    The Rock Hill school board’s work session, in which Superintendent Lynn Moody will present her draft plan for iRock, is open to the public. It starts at 5:30 p.m. in the district’s central office, 660 N. Anderson Road.

    To see Moody’s plan, visit: www.rock-hill.k12.sc.us

    Click District Information then Board of Trustees. Click Board Meeting Information Packet, then choose the packet for Dec. 10, 2012.

Rock Hill schools Superintendent Lynn Moody wants to know if the school board is willing to speed up her iRock initiative and get an iPad in every student’s hands by August, the start of the 2013-14 school year, according to a new draft of her plan.

At a public meeting this evening, school board members will weigh in on the plan. Moody said the speed and direction that her initiative, and ultimately the district, moves in will depend largely on the board’s feedback.

“The plan Monday is to give the board an opportunity to really dig in and voice their opinions,” Moody said. “It will be one of the most important nights in the history of Rock Hill schools.”

Meanwhile, school board Chairman Jim Vining is looking for clarity from the administration, and he wants to move the emphasis away from iPads.

“Naming the initiative iRock was a bad idea,” said Vining, who supports using technology in schools. “It should be about improving academic achievement. Until that’s the message, it’s going to be hard to get support.”

In response, Moody said: “I understand his position, but I don’t agree that it’s correct.”

Moody’s gambling that a move to “project-based” lessons fueled by mobile devices will dramatically improve student achievement and better prepare students for careers in a global economy that changes at the speed of technology.

Since iRock was announced in July, the timeline has been amorphous. Teachers received iPads and have begun training and using them in lessons, while students have been allowed to bring their own devices to school.

Moody said her goal is one-to-one, meaning a device for every student to own and customize. She had not set a target date, until now.

It’s not clear in the draft plan how Moody will propose paying for iRock. So far she has urged parents to consider buying their children an iPad and announced plans to reach out to businesses, churches and local agencies to help foot the bill. Moody has said she is open to suggestions from anyone.

In an interview with The Herald, Moody said she has not ruled out recommending that the district issue bonds to pay for devices. Tax dollars would repay those bonds.

Moody’s counting on the school board to help clarify how to move forward.

According to the draft plan, committees have been formed for specific tasks, including finance, communication, management and support and learning and evaluation. Most committee members are district employees, but communications team includes three parents and two community representatives.

Leaders from each committee make up a leadership team headed by Moody.

At tonight’s meeting, Moody’s staff will present the plan draft and address concerns that board members raised during a recent retreat. Committee leaders will present a “conceptual framework” for their areas.

The board’s feedback will be considered with teacher input as a final plan is drafted in time for the Jan. 14 work session.

Moody wants the board to vote on the plan on Jan. 28.

Want to go?

Shawn Cetrone 803-329-4072

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