School district leaders, teachers, parents and community members came together Monday to discuss the future of technology for Tahoma.
The Tahoma School District hosted the second of two “Engage Tahoma” meetings on Monday, May 20 at the Tahoma Central Services Center.
The goal of Engage Tahoma is to inform the public and parents about different topics of importance within the district. These last two meetings have focused on informing the public about how technology is used in the classroom.
Last year during the February election, a technology levy failed with about 53 percent voting no. The levy was estimated to cost $0.30 per $1,000 taxable home value, or $30 per $100,000 taxable home value, for the first year of collection.
During the Monday session, the district focused on the community and parents by having them split up into small groups and talk about why they thought passing a tech levy was important.
Community member Dan Mills explained why voters should consider investing in technology within the district.
“I’m an IT guy myself, and so I deal with users in my company all the time,” Mills said. “I think the one thing we could point out to a lot of people is ‘How hard is it when you are at work, working with outdated technology?’ Think about that. Your IT department is under funded and has outdated hardware, outdated software, how much harder does that make your work? Now translate that to your children.”
Tahoma parent Rebecca Murakami said it’s important that voters understand that technology use early on is important. She said it builds over the course of a child’s education.
Mills agreed with this and said technology is just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic.
Along with using tech at a young age, Murakami said it’s also important to understand how much screen time a child has had over the course of a school day and at home, as it’s unhealthy for a kid to stare at say a computer screen for too long.
Instructional Technology and Future Ready Skills coordinator Kimberly Allison said there’s no part in the district’s vision that has kids on screens for most of the time.
Allison explained that while computers are an important aspect to the learning environment, students do not spend the entire day on them.
A similarity among the groups was the thought that it is important to help voters understand why passing a tech levy is imparative, and to help bridge the barriers.
One group said the specifics as to why the district needs a tech levy needs to be expressed to voters.
Another group said there needs to be excitement around the uses of technology in the classroom and for students as a whole.
One group stated “identify false beliefs and correct/educate (voters),” on an idea board shown to the other groups.
“We have these expectations of what we want to see in our educational system. Our values have to match that,” Murakami said. “We’re going to see what we value. We need to get a pulse on what voters value and their expectations are and to help us see as a community where those maybe don’t meet or match. This is the bread and butter of what’s needed for what’s happening in every school and every classroom.”
The district is currently discussing whether or not it will run a new technology levy in February 2020.
To learn about what happened during the first meeting of Engage Tahoma, go maplevalleyreporter.com/news/tahoma-school-district-makes-case-for-another-tech-levy/ or go to tahomasd.ss19.sharpschool.com/.