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Colton-Pierrepont Central School Board of Education switches to computer-based meetings

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COLTON - Board meetings in the Colton-Pierrepont Central School District are now being conducted on “the cloud,” with each board member now accessing documents through a Google Chromebook instead of a thick stack of printed papers.

Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash said the switch to what he calls “computer-based board packets” was made earlier this year. Paper copies of the agenda are still printed for members of the public attending meetings.

“It’s easier to keep track of the information and for board members to look back at older packets,” he said, adding the machines are the same ones used by students in grades five through 12.

“As we talk to the board about computer-based learning, it’s helpful for them to be immersed in a similar situation,” Mr. Kardash said, adding that switching to Chromebooks for the district’s students led to some cost savings.

He said the board’s move is unlikely to produce additional savings. “I don’t know if I would call it a savings as much as I would a better process,” he said.

The transition didn’t come without a few hiccups though and that is why this month, for the first time, board members were allowed to bring their tablet home.

“We bought a pool of machines here to have, and we had enough extras to dole out to board members,” he said. “We found with them only touching the machines once a month the learning curve was a distraction from the meetings.”

Mr. Kardash said it’s his hope board members will take the time to get used to the technology and learn more about the machines.

“Now the board members can better understand the environment we are providing to the students,” he said. “I believe that good decisions are based on good information, so if they have a better understanding of the technology, whatever we decide to do moving forward will be a better plan.”

Last year, the district launched an initiative where each student was given a Google Chromebook to use for taking notes and completing assignments, with some textbooks even now coming in digital form. This year the initiative was expanded to include students in grades eight and nine with an additional pool of machines to be used by students in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades, although those students aren’t yet bringing them home.

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