Members of the Teacher Advisory Committee voiced concerns about current educational issues at the Knoxville Board of Education work session, held March 2 in the Andrew Johnson Building.
Heidi Walsh, fifth grade teacher at Christenberry Elementary School and a second-year member of the committee, was one of the three teachers who spoke about the need to prioritize accessibility of technology for students across schools.
“We need to move forward with technology in order to support the testing and the requirements that are required by us by the state,” Walsh said during her speech at the session.
Heidi discussed the difference in school performance in the mandatory writing assessment. She said schools with one to one computing–the program in which academic institutions grant each student an Internet-accessible device–were able to easily conduct the assessment in comparison to those without this technological access.
“The schools that had one to one didn’t really have any logistical nightmares,” Walsh said.
Walsh said seeing the success of the one-to-one schools with the writing assessment was an indicator of a possibility for technological reform. The logistics of what schools to modify first and on how large of a scale are what the committee is in the process of reviewing.
Walsh also expressed concern about setbacks for elementary students who lack keyboarding skills.
“If we had technology available in every classroom or a majority or a high amount of our students, we’d have an easier time with them getting those keyboarding practice skills,” Walsh said.
Walsh proposed small increments at a time to reform the technology budget. She feels technology availability in schools needs to be at the top of the board of education’s priority list.
The other two advisory committee members who spoke were Kristie Pell, a special education teacher at Powell High School, and Jannice Clark, a mathematics teacher at Kelley Volunteer Academy.
The advisory committee began in 2013 and currently meets once per month at West High School. The committee is made up of teachers, counselors and other school staff who discuss reforms needed for the education system. Members of the committee represent Knox County schools.
To view a list of members on the 2014-2015 Teacher Advisory Committee, click here.
Edited by Courtney Anderson