“On one student’s iPad were ten of the most graphic, hardcore,  triple-X porn images I have ever seen.”
  • “On one student’s iPad were ten of the most graphic, hardcore, triple-X porn images I have ever seen.”
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Some Sweetwater librarians, teachers, and parents continue to question whether the district’s iPad initiative is a boon or a costly boondoggle.

Similar to Los Angeles Unified School District, which recently canceled a contract to buy 700,000 iPads, the Sweetwater Union High School District’s iPad initiative has experienced several rough years. The Los Angeles iPad program became so fraught with problems it was suspended.

A recent incident involving the Sweetwater Education Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides grants for Sweetwater students, hints at potential problems. The foundation site was hacked near the beginning of August, shortly after students returned from summer break. For two weeks, anyone who searched on the internet for the foundation, perhaps looking for a scholarship, would pull pages of hardcore porn under the heading “Eighteen & Abused.”

The role of Sweetwater librarians has changed considerably. Where once they opened the doors of literacy and research for students, their days of late are increasingly consumed with iPad problems. In addition to other duties, they are now responsible for the distribution of iPads; for the accounting of lost, cracked, or broken devices; for checking out the tablets to students who are not allowed to take them home; and for securing parent authorization forms.

And the iPads bring other problems. Librarian Colleen Casey said porn on a student’s iPad was seared into her brain because of an event that took place last April.

“My library assistant brought a student’s iPad to me,” Casey said. “On his iPad were ten of the most graphic, hardcore, triple-X porn images I have ever seen. When I looked this student up, he already owed the district for a cracked iPad. He got suspended for a day or two for the incident and then he walked into the library and said, ‘Where’s my iPad?’”

Casey said the consequences for downloading inappropriate material, cracking, breaking or losing iPads, varies from school to school. Often, there are no consequences.

Another librarian pointed out, “This year is totally different from the last two years. The first year the district was making up iPad implementation on the fly. Last year things got better. I saw teachers starting to incorporate iPads, and students began to use them when they were doing their homework; I’d see students looking up a word in the dictionary, or they’d be doing their homework and upload something to Canvas,” an instructional software program that connects students to teachers.

But everything changed this school year. Librarians say the first two months of this new school year were the worst in their careers because of the iPads.

Last year, the tablets were loaded from the district server and it was more difficult for students to get around firewalls and misuse the iPads. Now, when students are issued an iPad, they get a blank slate and an Apple ID, which they use to download the apps.

Aside from the difficulty of getting all the students’ iPads configured — one librarian said, “Now the Apple Store is wide open to them all the time. In fact, one teacher checked a student’s history and found that this student was using his uncle’s account to load violent video games and porn.”

Another librarian reported that she had been contacted by a mother whose son had asked for her credit-card number, ostensibly for a school-related purchase; instead, he used the account to download music.”

“Students are technically savvy,” said librarian Mary Doyle. “Some of them use a proxy number from the Starbucks web page to bypass the school’s code.”

Parents are also worried about the access students have to the Apple Store. Earlier this school year, Sweetwater parent Wanda Parisi complained to the school board that when her family had an Apple ID she could oversee her children’s activities; with a school-issued ID she no longer has that option.

“The real problem is the district does not have a comprehensive technology plan, said librarian Doyle. “Their plan is — hand the students an iPad.”

Librarians and teachers are also critical of the fact that the iPads, which were supposed to replace students’ heavy backpacks, have a limited set of classroom texts loaded.

“The math book is available, but we’re going into integrated math, so it’s sort of a supplement,” Doyle said. “High school has only math, algebra, and geometry texts loaded. In middle school, it’s only the science and math and another supplementary English Language Development text that is not required.”

Costs for the initiative continue to add up.

Aside from purchasing the iPads, covers for the devices, licensing for books, repairs for iPads that are no longer under warranty, a recovery program for lost iPads, staff training, and a new layer of employees to technically assist the implementation, some librarians also believe the program is bankrupting the students in terms of reading skills and habits.

“We’re supposed to be a data-driven district,” Casey said. “There is plenty of data that shows being a strong reader improves a student’s education. There is no data that shows an iPad improves student learning.”

On the subject of reading, Casey said: “We have a half hour advisory in the morning where students are supposed to read. So, the kids say, ‘I have my book on my iPad.’ But it became very apparent this year, because of the Apple ID and the games available, that students were sitting there doing other things and as soon as a teacher came by, they’d swipe it and a book would appear on the screen. So, there are some teachers who are saying the students have to read real books and put the iPads away. I am very sad, because kids used to come in and check out books and talk to me about them.”

Librarians wonder why the district chose iPads as opposed to other tablets. Casey said that when the district was going through the selection process there was one tablet considered that could only be used for educational purposes. She said the demonstrator threw the tablet on the ground and it didn’t even break.

At the March 2014 board meeting, Sweetwater’s director of educational technology, David Damico, explained that iPads were chosen because Apple was the first company to come out with tablets. He said that the district was already engaged in a pilot program with iPads and implementing two different tablets posed significant challenges. He said that the district would revisit the tablet choice in the future.

The overall cost of the iPad initiative will increase incrementally. As one teacher explains it: “The purchase component of roughly $3.5–$4.5 million will continue in perpetuity since the [iPad] technology and hardware have a life expectancy (optimally — when well taken care of) of about three years. This means not only would the district have to supply all incoming 7th-graders, but a projected additional percentage replacement for 10–12-graders each year. I don’t see where the money’s coming from. They need to lay out a business plan/model just as if they were approaching a lender with a funding request.”

One of the problems librarians complained about was the cracked iPads. They pointed out that some are beyond their warranty and that the district had to contract additional repair services. They also stressed that repair turnaround time was too long.

Jim Young is a veteran Sweetwater teacher who retired in early October. He said he believes there’s a place for iPads or other tablets in education and explained the various ways he had incorporated the iPad into his Accelerated World Cultures Class. But, he went on to enumerate problems. For instance, a teacher couldn’t just make a lesson plan for a class that incorporates the iPad because not every student has an iPad.

“This year,” Young explained, “it took seven weeks to get the iPads distributed to all the students. In addition, many parents opt their children out of the program because several weeks into the semester they find out their kids’ grades are suffering because they’ve been using the iPads to play games rather than study. Then, at any given time, there are 50 or more iPads in the school that are broken. So, those students will not have an iPad in class. That means a teacher needs to make a lesson plan that incorporates pencil and paper work as well as iPad work.”

Young continued, “Then there will be the students whose iPads aren’t charged. They were probably good kids and charged them the night before but by the time they get to class, they’ve been playing so many video games, which use a lot of power, that they’ve lost their charge.”

Young said the Apple Store being open to the students for a prolonged time this year has created additional problems. He said, “You can’t give an 11- or 12-year-old a great video platform and tell them, ‘Don’t play games.’ Students have great technical abilities. We can wipe their iPads clean, but later we find they have stored their games on the Cloud or in a hard-drive folder.”

Young also echoed the librarians’ complaint: very few texts are available on the iPad. The world cultures text he used was not available on the iPad.

“Many times our Wi-Fi network is down,” said Young. “So you have to be prepared for that eventuality when you’re teaching. Then there is the problem of the Wi-Fi going down if all the students in the district are taking a test at the same time, which frequently happens.”

Young chuckled and said, “Just last week an Apple representative came to our school to give us a demonstration and the Wi-Fi system went down.”

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Comments

eastlaker Nov. 5, 2014 @ 11:33 a.m.

Prime example of the Ed Brand era of education in Sweetwater: lack of intelligent planning, possibility of something unethical in the selection process, students running with the opportunity to play video games and watch porn.

Is it any wonder that the public, the teachers and the taxpayers have not been happy with Sweetwater's administration?

So many areas need looking at in Sweetwater. I hope all the results of corruption, ineptitude and laziness will be eliminated from Sweetwater--Ed Brand wanted a legacy, looks like he got one, and it isn't a good one.

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Visduh Nov. 5, 2014 @ 4:53 p.m.

I was thinking of the Brand legacy too, and how these high-tech toys should be remembered. We all can now wait and see if Brand has any fallout from his three years in the supe seat. There must be something he did that was very wrong--just look at the bandits who hired him. Anybody out there listening, Bahnee? FBI? State board of education? Tom Torlakson? Anybody? Nah, nobody's home.

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eastlaker Nov. 6, 2014 @ 7:18 a.m.

I guess Ed's boast that his friends would always protect him is correct--but that doesn't make it right!

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dbdriver Nov. 5, 2014 @ 12:45 p.m.

I remember a meeting at the high school last year, where administration was going over the process for the iPads for incoming Freshmen for this year. They were touting the iPads as being the only device for reading eBooks (Hello, Kindle? Nook?)

Also the district was getting huge discounts and training on the devices, due to the quantities being purchased. (Wouldn't just about any other manufacturer provide discounts and training for quantity purchasing?)

This isn't the first time the district has attempted the technological toys route. When my daughter was in 8th grade, the district gave out netbooks to 7th graders. I don't know what came of that technology, but I think the netbooks were better than the iPads.

The district claimed that our students need to learn this technology to be ready for the real world they graduate into. But they're completely backwards on implementation. They use the iPads to lure 7th graders from taking the Charter School route. They should be starting with the 12th graders, and working their way down. You know...the ones who are currently graduating into the real world. Not the ones that have years to go.

By using current technology from the 7th graders on up, they are sending 5 grade levels of students into the real world without preparing them.

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anniej Nov. 5, 2014 @ 1:01 p.m.

IPADS, due to the poor planning - I take that back, NO PLANNING thanks to Dianne Russo's rush to purchase them are failing at the high school level. Many students are not even taking them to high school - those that are, having a fun time with the games they have downloaded. High school teachers being expected to perform miracles with little to no training and few if any resources on the IPADS.

New Board members, we have been subjected to 'presentations' by District personnel on how wonderful the IPADS are - which have been akin to smoke being blown thru our brains. It is time for our new Board to send the message - ON THIS, AND ALL ISSUES WE WANT TO HEAR AND LEARN THE TRUTH FROM OUR EMPLOYEES AND OUR STUDENTS.

I will be bringing some of the truth to the next Board meeting -

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bbq Nov. 5, 2014 @ 2:42 p.m.

Well after what seems to have been an eternity, the old regime is gone from Sweetwater, I would like to remind the one and only Mr. McCann that he just squeeked into his new spot, that's no mandate from the public, we'll be watching.....

So onto the iPad mess, I am sure there are many people at the district adminstration office that have alot to say about this subject and others, maybe now they will finally be able to tell the Emperor (Brand and Board) "(T)He(y) has no clothes on".... unless there are some types of strings tieing their hands and honesty. I have little doubt that Dr. Brand has put much fear into that office and the workers, so I am not expecting much free flowing information.

Many of us knew the issues with wholesale implementation of the "Technology" and the integration issue that occured this Fall when iPads met the High Schools... General math classes have a mix of studentsmixing the iPad Freshmen with the non-iPad Sophs, Jrs, Srs.

Much like "open borders" a solution causing additional problems, perhaps we should have introduced iPads at the west side schools first for two reasons, 1) fewer students involved and 2) the same incentive to have students enroll, as was the first intention of the ill-planned roll-out.

Much work to do, many people to interview lots of tangled webs to unweave, good luck to the new Board of Trustees, may you live up to your promisses, many of us are watching and relying on you to right the ship at SUHSD. BBQ

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eastlaker Nov. 5, 2014 @ 4:28 p.m.

One main reason the iPads were not introduced on the west side first is because they were purchased with Mello-Roos funds--which the west side was not supposed to have at their disposal. But then again, Mello-Roos funds are only supposed to be used for items with a 5 year or more lifespan, which pretty much eliminates the iPads anyway. Just one more bend in the river of deceit, thanks to the Sweetwater administration.

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oneoftheteachers Nov. 5, 2014 @ 3:40 p.m.

Every time I have attended a district iPad training a great deal of time has been wasted dealing with technical glitches. If the experts can't get them to work, how am I supposed to? We don't have enough time as it is for instruction.

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 5, 2014 @ 4:49 p.m.

Here is a twitter comment:

We opted our son out of the iPad & other students showed him how they switch the language to pull up porn.

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johndewey Nov. 5, 2014 @ 5:31 p.m.

Does anyone recall any of the newly elected board members commenting on this iPad fiasco during their campaign? I'm hoping that with a new board we'll see new direction on this issue.

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Bvavsvavev Nov. 5, 2014 @ 5:57 p.m.

Many of us parents lobbied Ed Brand and the Trustees against this. When I was the Bond Oversight Committee Chair, EdBrand called me and asked me to publicly support using bond money for this purchase. I refused. He then send me 4 legal opinions stating it was legal, and I still refused.

Not only did I not believe bond money could or should be used, i knew the district was not prepared for this. They did not have the infrastructure nor a plan in place. Many of us knew that the Ipads, along with open boundaries, was Ed Brands response to Chula Vista Elementary Charters pulling students away from Sweetwater Middle Schools.

Maty, Kathleen, Stuart, Wanda, Fran, Kevin and other parents, community members, and some teachers, lobbied hard against this. But as usual, Ed Brand would not listen, and as the board was in his back pocket, they acquiesced.

I agree, this is a fiasco and the district needs to cut its losses on this. Otherwise, they will continue to throw good money after bad money. Hopefully, this is one area the new trustees will review.

Ipads and technology can be awesome if used right. Feaster Charter in the CVESD uses them for all k-8 students. They have a great technology plan, teachers are trained, there are parameters on how they can be used, and use is tied into plans and results. I know its easier here because its a small sample size, but templates for good use are out there. Its just that Ed Brand and the prior Trustees felt they knew better, or had ill intentions in mind.

As far as student use and abuse of the Ipads, lets place blame where it belongs - on the parents of those students!! My 8th grader has one, and yes she can access whatever she wants whenever she wants. But we monitor, review and hold her accountable to using it appropriately. Its too easy to blame teachers, the district and others for one thing the parents are responsible for - their kids! Cmon parents!!

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miagd Nov. 5, 2014 @ 8:07 p.m.

Fundamentally, I agree with you about parent responsibility. I wish all parents were like you. Sadly, on the west side of SUHSD that scene is much different. Many students are homeless, in foster care, have incarcerated parents and such. The D/F rate would knock your socks off. And I'll bet it's gone up since iPads arrived.

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 5, 2014 @ 6:09 p.m.

bvav,

the same parent comments on twitter:

"I've shadowed my son in class & watched students play video games in almost every class."

Shadowing does not seem negligent?

Pls correct me if I am wrong, but another parent, Parisi, said at a board meeting, it was more difficult to monitor with apple store open.

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anniej Nov. 5, 2014 @ 6:34 p.m.

Eastlaker - IPADS were purchased with Prop O monies initially.

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eastlaker Nov. 6, 2014 @ 7:24 a.m.

I just checked Susan's article of Feb. 23, 2012, written immediately following the board meeting of Feb. 21 when the board--Bertha Lopez the lone dissenter--passed the iPad purchase.

Cost $4.3 million. $1.8 from Prop O, $1.5 from Mello-Roos, $0.5 Federal Grant, $0.5 textbook funding.

So we are both right--and so was Bertha Lopez.

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miagd Nov. 5, 2014 @ 6:38 p.m.

If David Damico is referring to Hilltop Middle School's FLAGS program as the pilot, he doesn't know what a pilot program is. Parents purchased the iPads. The students in FLAGS are top notch students. As I heard one person put it, iPads are being passed out like candy and the students have an enormous sense of entitlement. I think that is what Colleen Casey wanted to get across with the porn boy. Unfortunately, Mr. Damico has been part of the problem.

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anniej Nov. 5, 2014 @ 6:41 p.m.

Bvav - while your words regarding the parents responsibility rings true I HAVE SAT THRU A FEW DOG AND PONY SHOWS BY DISTRICT PERSONNEL CLAIMING THE FIREWALLS ARE SECURE.

Maty Adato, has been, since the beginning, been speaking on the IPAD issue to no avail. She was looked at as if she had the plague when asking for answers to her questions. Kevin O'Neill as well questioned the sanity of the purchase and was raked over the coals for hurting a District employees feelings when he demanded answers.

Bottom line - if our District is unable to support the IPADS for ANY reason then why in the hell are we steadily buying them?

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anniej Nov. 5, 2014 @ 6:46 p.m.

miagd - it was my understanding thru a VERY good source that the teachers that initially headed up the IPAD usage at Hilltop were never asked.

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anniej Nov. 5, 2014 @ 6:56 p.m.

Ms. Casey - Ms. Doyle - Thank You for acknowledging what many of us have been standing before our Board preaching FOR CLOSE TO 3 years now. You both should be commended in your efforts to look out for and protect the students.

Hopefully your willingness to step forward is sending a sign to we parents and the community that you do not fear retribution.

The errors in judgement of the past need to be brought forward, exposed and corrected. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL WE BE ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD TO A SUCCESSFUL FUTURE FOR OUR STUDENTS AND A POSITIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TAXPAYERS AND THE DISTRICT WE FINANCIALLY SUPPORT. We can not unspill milk but we can darn sure take steps to ensure the same mistakes are not made in the future.

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miagd Nov. 6, 2014 @ 8:59 p.m.

Both Ms. Casey and Ms. Doyle have spoken at Board meetings about iPads. The voices of logic and reason voiced by so many went unheeded with this initiative. Here's hoping SUHSD's Hall of Shame is turned around soon to being the Hall of Fame it once was!

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anniej Nov. 5, 2014 @ 10:20 p.m.

Miagd - then there are the 'west side' students who earned full rides to such institutions as Berkely, NYU, 3 to MIT, 2 to the Naval Academy, UCLA, and a Charger Scholarship - that is to only name a few that covered a couple of years at my community school Montgomery High. Please know, I recognize we are considered a poor community and yes our students may all not have the perfect home life - however, we are a proud community and I am very protective of my communities students - one might argue economics plays a part in the lack of parental involvement on the west side so,,,,, respectfully I ask 'what is the excuse for the no show parents from the east side'? There is need for improvement on both sides of the now perceived great divide referred to as the 805.

Hopefully you understand, I and others over here on the west side think our areas are pretty darn special as well - heck, for one, we are closer to the ocean.

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miagd Nov. 6, 2014 @ 8:52 p.m.

I'm west side, born and raised. Totally understand.

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anniej Nov. 6, 2014 @ 9:41 p.m.

Thank You, as you can tell my community students are important to me.

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Reader2 Nov. 5, 2014 @ 11:52 p.m.

Someone explain this to me: the conventional wisdom is that kids need the iPads to be ready for the real world (21st century bla, bla, bla) and yet these kids are so tech savvy that they can dupe parents and teachers. Any curious child will learn how to use any device in less than a day. Teachers can show them the myriad of educational uses in a few months. So they need iPads in 7th grade ... why?

The subject of pornography and porn addiction also needs to be addressed. Kids need to learn about "the real world" of relationships, sex, and intimacy and not be left to assume that porn is "real." Can anyone with a highschooler tell me if it's covered in sex ed? And are professionals teaching those classes?

Let's save money on iPads and invest in Nutrition classes, Parenting classes, Civics classes, and Ethics classes. Let's send forth educated, healthy, engaged graduates that will embody America's highest ideals.

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bbq Nov. 6, 2014 @ 6:09 a.m.

Reader2, Very well put, all of the "Technology" in the world is useless without the ability to tell right from wrong, basic knowlege of how to communicate and empathy or compassion. These soft skills are very absent from our education process.

The hard skills of Hands on learning are also missing, without active experimentation, art, shop classes, unless you think hacking the "Technology" is a hands-on skill.

Missing these basic concepts of education, what do we think our kids do in school; all day? It's no wonder they can hack their iPads and play games.

Well not a Hillary Clinton fan I will paraphrase her line "It takes more than a (Insert your favorite entity, Village, School, Church, Parent) to raise a child, it takes a Broad based, caring, ethical, compassionate community to raise our children and thus our society.

Again it is time to review our standards of what is responsible behavior and care to our children, what is responsible trusteeship of our schools and government, and finally the proper guidence and operation of our not for profit and Government supported community services organizations (South Bay Community Services, United Way, etc).

Alot to chew on for one individual but not a community. Be involved, stay involved and do not settle for "Thats the way it always been around here."

BBQ, CAVE, Citizens Active for Value in Education

5

eastlaker Nov. 6, 2014 @ 7:28 a.m.

I have a tendency to think that Ms. Adato might be on to something--what did Ed Brand gain from all his scheming? Who were the sales people for these huge sales to school districts? There must have been something going on.

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 6, 2014 @ 7:46 a.m.

bbq, what a great opening comment: how to know right from wrong, how to be empathetic.

When we put books into children' hands, whether on a device or in its tactile, page-by page form, it is our wild hope that children will not only learn to read, but also that they will learn to love to read.

I am told because of testing and standards, that is less likely to happen these days. And I am told that fiction offerings have been reduced.

It is precisely through fiction that children or young adults experience what it is like to be someone else, and hopefully learn compassion.

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bbq Nov. 6, 2014 @ 8:17 a.m.

Susan, While I hate to play one on one comments, your analysis is spot on.

When we watch tv or a movie we can easily objectify the individual or character, making it easy to say that'll never happen to me.

When reading an autobiography or fiction we get into the main characters thought process and rationalization for an action or decision and experience the outcome.

As I am not a Gamer, so to speak, I do not know how they affect the education and knowlege of an individual, its my generation gap to conquer.

BBQ, CAVE, Citizens Active for Value(s) in Education

5

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 6, 2014 @ 7:54 a.m.

eastlaker, I think the actual expense is difficult to know and increases annually & exponentially. As the article says, there are recovery costs, losses, iPads without insurance. Parent Parisi made an interesting point one evening, she said information could be stored on clouds or the district website and many children could access them through varied devices.

But the cost that was new to me, was the cost of librarians to the educational system. One of them said sometimes it gets so busy at the beginning of the year issuing iPads that they don't have a chance to give students their annual library orientation. They don't have budgets to buy books. They don't have time to put the right book in the right student's hands.

It is my regret that because of word limits, I barely scratched the surface of this issue.

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eastlaker Nov. 6, 2014 @ 8:17 a.m.

Regret not!!

Susan, we are so grateful to have this venue to discuss the many issues confronting all of us in this Sweetwater UHSD!

It would take a very good accountant indeed to tabulate all the expenses in materials, time, time taken away from other important tasks and then the sheer blockheadedness involved in the iPad fiasco.

I am really hoping that the new board will have the determination and strength to come to grips with all the poor decisions made by Brand/Gandara/Brand and start turning things around. Collectively, it would seem they have the skills--educational budget analyst, electrician, retired police officer, retired educators. I wish them well, and really hope they are interested in eliminating waste, including in the iPad mess.

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 6, 2014 @ 8:10 a.m.

I am carrying on this morning, but I want to emphasize, as Ms. Casey emphasized, these librarians and teachers are not at all Luddites. They know the use and value of technology and it is integrated into their lives and work. They know how to use the iPads creatively. And, there are teachers who like integrating iPads into their classroom work and they are quite expert at it.

Lack of books loaded, cracked or missing iPads, students playing with iPads and spending time chatting on them when they should be doing class work, wi-fi failures etc.-- all those things make a difficult job even more difficult.

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erupting Nov. 6, 2014 @ 9:01 a.m.

Dare I hope a new board a new day. So many issues, IPads,term limits,Mello Roos, and a new superintendent. I hope new because the search has not begun as requested by community members,in hopes of getting candidates lined up for interviews by the new board. Tim Glover is a nice interim. Now it's time to start anew.

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erupting Nov. 6, 2014 @ 9:06 a.m.

I forgot many things,but open boundaries is critical at this point, to prepare for next year. A new day and hopefully a new way.

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Chris_Shilling Nov. 6, 2014 @ 4:56 p.m.

I think the iPad has worked well for one of my daughters who is in the Flags program and ASB. She has used it to do her work and I haven’t seen it be a distraction, although I think she reads on it a little too much opposed to real books.

However, for my other daughter it has been a challenge. The iPad is more of a distraction for her but when we opted her out of it, and had it written in her IEP, it became very difficult for her to complete and submit her assignments.

The iPad has been used to surf the internet, take pictures and record videos, watch videos, listen to music, change wallpaper over and over, make collages, and many other things that are only a distraction. She got in trouble a few weeks ago and received lunch detention for having her headphones in and listening to music while in class. She does not have an iPod or any device to listen to music from us, so she was using her school issued iPad to listen to music.

It has also been used to sign up for social media accounts when my children are not allowed to have social media accounts. I have found them and deleted them because I monitor everything, but the iPad has provided a greater opportunity for this to happen behind our backs. It is also difficult for me to even keep up with the new social media sites and what they are used for so that I can stay on top of everything. She also has epilepsy so it is not good for her to be staring at the iPad screen all day. I have had to spend money to replace a few broken chargers as well which was not fun.

So I think that the iPads can be a productive tool for some students, but we really have to be careful. It is also nice that a student who does not have a computer at home could have the ability to use the iPad instead but then does that home have wi-fi or do students have to go to a place like Starbucks or McDonalds to do their homework?

I have heard stories from other parents about porn and different types of extremely inappropriate things like taking pictures of girls with the iPad and then using a program to draw pictures of penises in their mouths. Probably things that they could be doing with other devices, if their parents bought them for them, but again being done with school issued equipment.

At the end it is a large expense, financed by questionable methods, without a proper plan in place to utilize the technology appropriately. That is just my opinion as a parent and community member.

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miagd Nov. 6, 2014 @ 8:49 p.m.

Thank you for the well balanced post. Ups and downs and slippery slopes.

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anniej Nov. 6, 2014 @ 5:48 p.m.

Whether IPADS are a good tool or not I guess could be respectfully debated til the cows come home.

My issue with SUHSD and our tax dollars being spent on them is simply -

WE FAILED TO DO ANY ANALYSIS AT ALL.

WE DID NOT AND CONTINUE TO NOT HAVE THE BAND WIDTH, ETC TO SUPPORT WHAT WE HAVE

KIDS ARE NOT USING THEM IN HIGH SCHOOL LIKE THEY WERE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, WHY????????

High School teachers have NOT been properly trained

Text books - where are all of the online books that were promised

Our current 9th graders, they are coming up on year 4 - what happens when they no longer charge / we will be purchasing 2 classes worth - incoming 7th graders and 10 the graders?

Time to pull the plug.

Here is a novel idea - why not put those millions into reduced class sizes and classroom aides? Put resources into our Math and Science classes.

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johndewey Nov. 6, 2014 @ 6:38 p.m.

Chris_Shilling: I am in total agreement with your comments, and am especially delighted to know that you are still contributing beyond "campaign talk". The South Bay community is fortunate to have you in their ranks, and your continued involvement and expression of your opinions and ideas will greatly serve us all. Thank you.

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anniej Nov. 6, 2014 @ 9:49 p.m.

johndewey - regarding Mr. Shilling, I agree. Hopefully all of those who ran will continue to stay involved. It will, after all, show the voting community those that truly care.

I have hopes that term limits will be voted in via bylaw changes as one of the first orders of business. Now that would send a message wouldn't it? - perhaps to this new group it truly is all about the kids.

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bbq Nov. 7, 2014 @ 10:39 a.m.

I am trying to remain objective with the new Board coming in, but Chris Shilling's example of his two daughters is a prime example of the SUHSD philosophy of "College Prep" for everyone and "Compact for Success". While the programs work for some of our kids, the strict A through G requirements do not work for others.

Without the skills based and society based classes and activities our kids get shortchanged into information robots rather than well rounded individuals. Not afforded the opportunity to explore careers or other choices.

How sad is it that many kids haven't seen beyond their neighborhoods or the boring facts in the books rather than how these facts and actions of them created the world we live in.

No offense meant to the individual teachers or even adminstrators, but the overall method and measure of outcomes need to be reviewed, beyond numbers and college enrollment.

Once again "One Size fits all..." is proven to not work as intended.

"The Law of unentended outcomes" and "Murhpy's Law" continue to be proven by the lack of realization that "A wise man knows what he does not know" (and thus asks for help, and better asks for help outside his chosen circle).

We need a district and Superintendant that is a work in progress, one with the ability to realize they do not know everything, one without previous political attachments and owe noone but the taxpayers and students their loyalty.

BBQ, CAVE

5

eastlaker Nov. 7, 2014 @ 5:16 p.m.

Yes, it would be a great idea if the new board could get a jump start on the superintendent search. What is the official Sweetwater protocol? Is there one?

What is difficult here is that we do not have the forensic accounting report, so we have only the word of those now employed by Sweetwater. So the financial ease or disease of this district is unclear, although I have heard so much that I am inclined to think there are problems that will be uncovered.

So, we will need to find someone who is financially savvy, respectful of teachers, ready to clean house administratively, not afraid of asking difficult questions and really interested in what the students need. That's all.

We need someone from outside the area, in my opinion. We do not need any more problems with favoritism, "shortcuts" in the employment process, veiled threats and fears of reprisals if people are honest. We need someone who thinks things through judiciously (I am referring to a Platonic ideal here, not to Judge Espana, who exists in sharp contradistinction to the Platonic ideal).

And yes, although the educational trend has been that ALL high school graduates should be ready to attend the CSU or UC of their choice, not every student is ready, willing and/or able to do that. Each student, along with a guidance counselor and a parent or guardian should be able to select a pathway that is suitable. There must be options. Some students need to be able to support themselves even prior to finishing high school.

We need a superintendent who is open to finding ways to help all students.

I truly hope there is someone out there who is willing to try.

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eastlaker Nov. 9, 2014 @ 11:59 a.m.

Just a thought--does anyone know someone at the LA school district? Because maybe the sales tactics had something in common.

And maybe we can learn from another district's choice to drop iPads?!

1

miagd Nov. 9, 2014 @ 8:10 p.m.

It took a very dedicated soldier to tackle the LA iPad war. Schools are falling apart, but kids are getting iPads? We seem to be fearful and weak here. Sorry to be so negative, but Sweetwater UHSD is still teflon when it comes to corruption and misguided ways.

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eastlaker Nov. 10, 2014 @ 5:14 a.m.

We need to find out what these two situations have in common.

Sales force? What were/are the financial arrangements?

What finally triggered LA to pull the plug?

1

bbq Nov. 11, 2014 @ 6:12 a.m.

Eastlaker, Did a small internet search on the LA Unified iPad initiave and it is so strikenly similar to Sweetwater you could substitute word for word in the issues.

  • No or little teacher training
  • Not enough Bandwidth
  • Partner Publisher, no Texts ready
  • Hugh expenses

As an engineer working in both Aerospace and Automotive you never put your profits on untested technology. The idea was to use the best available "Proven Technology". So what if it was not "State of The art" as long as it achieved the objective and gave significant improvement for the investment, "Bang for the Buck".

I think the Sweetwater "Wise Men" got taken, not enough business sense and they certainly did not know enough about the issue to make good decisions " Wise men know what they do not know"

So, no bang for the buck, just big bucks and a 1 minute and 15 second fizzle (4th of July 2013).

Best, BBQ, Cave

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eastlaker Nov. 11, 2014 @ 11:03 a.m.

That, and/or some kind of 'incentive'.

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