Friday, May 17, 2013
Fairfax County School Board will hold listening sessions next week to help develop a strategic plan for digital learning.
Teachers, students and parents in Fairfax County didn't have the smoothest experience with digital learning in 2012-2013. As Fairfax County Public Schools rolled out a new online math program in Fall 2012, students and teachers complained they had difficulty navigating the books, saying there were publisher errors and inconsistencies, technology roadblocks and student difficulty in accessing the information, among other complaints, like a lack of teacher buy-in to the program. They said the program, instead of advancing learning and achievement, was pushing it back, calling the $10.4 million initiative "a big disaster" with no clear solution. The short-term solution was to re-negotiate contracts to get some hard copy books back in the …
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
System renegotiates with publishers to purchase books after online subscriptions fall short.
Fairfax County middle and high schools will now be allowed to purchase additional printed math textbooks to supplement online subscriptions introduced at the beginning of the school year, a move that comes after months of student, parent and teacher complaints about the program and the approach used to implement it. At a school board work session Monday, Craig Herring, the director of pre-k through 12 curriculum and instruction, said Fairfax County Public schools had renegotiated a one-time price reduction from each of three publishers that provide the online books for grade levels across the county. Each school principal will now have the choice to purchase hardcopy textbooks to be used by students in the affected classes, Herring said…
Friday, November 9, 2012
Critics say program rolled out without sufficient preparation
Shortly after the start of the school year in September, Kirsten Rucker had scheduled an X-ray appointment for one of her twin sons — both juniors at Oakton High School — after class. But when she asked him to bring his homework while they waited for the doctor, he said he couldn't. It was all online. She thought they would find a way to bring it with them. She found quickly she was wrong. They could access the material, but couldn't print pages. They tried to copy and paste from a PDF file, but were blocked by the software. They pulled up a print screen, but the words ran together, jumbled across the page. It wouldn't load on a reader, or an iPhone. They went to the appointment empty handed, and when her son returned late that evening…
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Leader of Fairfax County Federation of Teachers says lack of discussion before textbook program came to fruition has resulted in no buy-in, issues of access and equity.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
To the Editor: There is a new math ‘series’ that is being implemented in Fairfax County Public Schools, currently. It is an online disaster that could have been avoided. Let’s reflect upon how this happened: Right after the FCPS School Board approved the FY 2013 budget (which was ‘tight’ due to revenue problems), the superintendent dropped a $7.7 million bill on their laps at the FY 2012 budget review, announcing that $10 million dollars was now available from the previous year. Later, it was discovered that FCPS administration had the nerve to sign the contract for the math series before the school board even approved the money for it. The fact that the new math series was to be primarily an online resource (vs. the more ‘traditional’ …