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LIVINGSTON, NJ — As part of the Livingston Board of Education's (LBOE) continued budget discussion, Erin Borino presented highlights of the 2019-2020 technology budget on Monday as well the strategic goals written into the district’s five-year “Technology Plan for Digital Learning."

In keeping with the district's mission to "support the district technology goals by providing effective technology resources and training to foster a community of academic risk taking, innovation, collaboration and global awareness," the goal of these ongoing technology updates is to provide an environment that "welcomes, supports and provides the digital tools necessary to personalize learning." 

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As part of her presentation, Borino announced that nearly 500 Chromebooks had been introduced to Mount Pleasant Middle School in conjunction with a “Digital Driving Course” to help students navigate devices and online usage.

The presentation also cited the success of software called “Go Guardian” that enables teachers to supervise student activities on their devices and allows them to send messages in real time if a student is off-task or requires further instruction. The district hopes to expand the use of this application and also switch to other cloud-based software. The district also emphasized that digital privacy and safety is of the utmost priority.

The technology budget update presentation also proposed improving the wireless infrastructure throughout the district along with continuing to replace aging hardware. In total, there is a need for 2,040 student devices for the “Student Device Refresh,” an initiative outlined during the presentation that will hopefully see new devices ordered and delivered by August 2019.

Additionally, there will be an overhaul of the tech lab at Hillside Elementary School along with capital expenditures that will see classroom technologies like classroom projectors and cameras replaced. The proposed budget will also see continued support of the Livingston High School TV program in the form of new cameras, character generators and various production accessories.

According to Borino’s presentation, Livingston Public Schools’ mission to “empower all to learn, create, contribute and grow” is the driving force behind the district’s current strategic plan, which focuses on the following primary strategic goals:

Goal 1: The district will establish a cycle of continuous improvement to develop and implement preschool-12th grade research-based practices that will engage and empower each student to become college and career ready.

Goal 2: The district will attract, hire, retain and develop a high quality staff that will create, innovate, and implement best practices to foster student growth and address the diverse needs of students

Goal 3: The district will create and maintain a safe, civil and sustainable environment in which to learn, teach and grow.

Goal 4: The district will strengthen the partnership among parents, school, and community, as active partners in the education of all children.

“The Technology Plan strategic goals are based on the Future Ready Framework and embody our on-going efforts to achieve Future Ready certification,” the District Technology Committee states in its official five-year plan. “We envision this work as vibrant and ever-evolving over the upcoming years. As particular goals are attained, new ones will be articulated and will lead to subsequent applications for higher levels of Future Ready certification…

“The success of our Technology Plan is dependent on innovative leadership at all levels. First and foremost, leaders within a district must be empowered to think and act innovatively, they must believe in the district’s shared vision for personalized learning through the effective use of digital tools and resources. Critical to our success will be a culture of innovation that builds the capacity of students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community to work collaboratively towards that vision.”

Slides from Monday's presentation can be seen in the photos above.

Prior to the technology presentation, Interim Superintendent James O’Neill announced the district is delaying the release of the School Performance Report, citing a “dip in participation.” He added that the state has penalized districts that did not meet 95 percent student participation.

“We will the best we can to balance the scores themselves and the penalty that was imposed,” said O’Neill, who pointed to a lack of incentive on the students’ part to take the test. “If a student has passed one of the three criteria for graduating besides their grade, what is the incentive for them to come and take the other two tests that they can use to graduate high school?”

The LBOE will meet for its third consecutive week next Monday, March 21 to discuss the tentative budget. The meeting will be held at 8 p.m. on that date instead of its usual 7 p.m. starting time.