The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

April 22, 2014

In the 'now'

The Raleigh County Board of Education has selected Assistant Superintendent David Price as the district’s new superintendent.

Price has over 31 years’ experience as an educator, the past two years in the Raleigh County job.

Originally from Boone County, Price has worked as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, coordinator of school improvement for the West Virginia Department of Education and as an administrative/personnel assistant.

Price succeeds Superintendent Jim Brown, who announced his resignation in March.

Price’s credentials are impressive, and he was among a half-dozen applicants. We assume at least part of the reasoning behind his selection by the Raleigh County BOE was to create some continuity and stability in the district following the tenure of Brown.

Brown’s iRaleigh initiative was a needed leap into the 21st century for the district. In fact, a special report by The Register-Herald found that Raleigh County’s iPad initiative stacked up well with a similar program instituted by the massive Los Angeles Unified School District.

We think that comparison reflects positively not just on Brown’s vision, but the board of education’s as well. We hope Price can build on the crucial foundation that has been laid when it comes to using technology in our schools.

Yet we also realize that the previous superintendent may have underestimated how the iRaleigh initiative would affect the district, bringing with it teacher training issues, server issues, problems with Internet access at students’ homes and monitoring of iPad misuse. All of these had an impact on teachers and staff, and on parents and students as well.

There is little doubt that Price understands some of the frustration the iRaleigh initiative created. Frankly, some teachers were able to adapt, while others had difficulty incorporating the iPad into their teaching curriculum.

There are legitimate questions about how well-prepared the district was when the iPads were rolled out to each student in grades 3 through 12, while younger students shared an iPad.

Did teachers and staff receive enough training on the front end? Were software issues addressed prior to the rollout? Was there an iPad-based curriculum in place at the start?

Were our expectations too high?

This is a history which we can either argue about, or we can learn from.

We hope that, like us, Superintendent Price chooses the latter.

His new tenure is an opportunity to re-establish the administration’s relationship with teachers and staff, and with parents and students.

We hope that he consults these separate groups and allows them meaningful input as he continues to push for the innovative use of technology in Raleigh County schools.

As one Raleigh County mother told us: “Technology is not the way of the future. It’s the way of ‘now.’ ”

We couldn’t agree more. And now is not the time to backtrack on our commitment to our children, or to the future they and we will build.

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