PLAINFIELD, NJ – Plainfield’s new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Diana Mitchell, quickly got down to business at her first Work & Study meeting on Tuesday. The majority of the meeting was closed for Executive Session to discuss personnel issues. During the 45-minute public session, several training programs previously implemented were reviewed; final votes will be taken at the August 20 business meeting.
Dr. Mitchell proposed a new communication tool called Let’s Talk! by K12 Insight. According to the resolution, Let’s Talk! is “a software platform that serves as a single, centralized, secure cloud based repository of all incoming questions, comments, concerns, suggestions and compliments by any district stakeholder.”
The tool, previously used by Dr. Mitchell, aims to reduce response times to resolve issues and questions, and increase accountability by creating a paper trail. The Let’s Talk! icon would be accessed via the District’s website, and would allow direct connection to all departments by users.
According to Mitchell, the overall goal is to get everyone talking.
Board members Carmencita Pile and Lynn Anderson questioned the cost of the tool versus current instruction needs and the overall budget, and suggested that a trial period be implemented for the rollout. The current proposal calls for a three-year contract of $3.50 per student annually, with a total cost of approximately $24,000 for the entire district.
Board member Emily Morgan commented that with the district experiencing significant competition from charter schools, Let’s Talk! would be a good marketing tool.
During public comment, resident Katherine Balch raised the issue of the current website and the need for an additional tool that would require a shifting of resources. Mitchell explained that it is really two separate systems and functions; the tool would facilitate communication versus the website which is a repository for information.
According to the company's website, K12 Insight has worked with both large and small districts, "reaching more than 4 million students, parents, teachers and staff."
The next Board of Education business meeting is scheduled for August 20. Additional information can be found on the district’s website.
The public is also invited to a Meet & Greet with Dr. Mitchell, scheduled for August 28 at Plainfield High School, 6 to 8:30 pm.