JOHN PULOMENA ANNOUNCES
THE MIDDLESEX COUNTY TECH 2000 PROGRAM
I am pleased to introduce the Middlesex County Tech 2000 Program. The goal is to provide a computer for every classroom in every public school throughout our county. At the same time we will be providing an incentive for teachers to receive the necessary training needed to properly utilize information technology in the classroom as well as providing a financial incentive for school districts to intensify their focus on information technology. Finally we will be helping to provide our schools with the hardware and software necessary to meet existing technology mandates from the state and to implement the initiatives of the Middlesex County Information Resource Management Commission.
The Middlesex County Metropolitan Statistical Area has the 3rd highest disposable household income level of any Metropolitan Statistical Area in the country. We should not allow our students to be at a disadvantage when they enter the workforce because they are not provided the technology learning tools necessary to excel. Of the 3,238 total classrooms in this county, more than 1000 have no access to modern technology. The program I am proposing will help to give our students the competitive edge in higher education and future careers which they deserve.
I am asking my fellow Freeholders to make a commitment of $1 Million dollars per year for the next 5 years for the purchase of state of the art computer hardware and software to be placed in each of our classrooms. I know they will support this request because education has always been a priority of the Freeholder Board. In addition to the $1 Million Dollar annual commitment by the County, this public/private partnership should also reach out to our extensive business community to allow the companies which do business here to invest in the future of our children.
This commitment coincides with the recently enacted State Department of Education requirement, which mandates that all teachers take 100 hours of continuing education credits over the next five years. This countywide technology program will provide an incentive for school districts to encourage teachers to obtain those credits in the area of computer technology.
The school administrators we have contacted are excited about this program. We should mail applications to the schools now so that requests can be collated by the end of the year.
With the cooperation of Dr. Mary Jean Guidette, Middlesex County Superintendent of Schools, Karen Warner, Director of the Middlesex County Education Technology Training Center, and Joseph Colombo, Superintendent of the Middlesex County Vocational & Technical Schools, we will be offering a comprehensive, multi-level technology training program.
This is an exciting new opportunity but it is only the first stage of a comprehensive technology program for Middlesex County. In the upcoming weeks I will be discussing additional innovative technology programs which will help Middlesex County take the lead in pursuing a technology agenda which will benefit our taxpayers through increased efficiency levels of service and cost savings.
The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders should be committed to putting our schools and government agencies on the cutting edge of the technological revolution and this program will be a good first step, dealing as it does with our most important asset, our students.
Tech 2000 is a partnership between the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and our local school districts. The goals of this program are as follows:
- Put a computer in every classroom (kindergarten through 12th grade).
- Encourage school districts to provide an incentive for teachers to receive the necessary training to properly utilize state of the art information technology in the classroom assuring that the computers are put to optimum use.
- Provide a financial motivation for school administrations to intensify their focus on information technology.
- Provide schools with the hardware and software necessary to implement the Middlesex County Information Resource Management Commission's Long Distance Learning initiative.
For every teacher adequately trained in utilizing computer technology in the classroom, one computer will be provided by Middlesex County. School districts willing to provide a computer of equal configuration and value may be eligible for a second county sponsored computer.
The total number of computers a participating school will be eligible to receive will be determined by the following criteria:
- The total number of academic classrooms in a school less the number of computers currently in classrooms, which meet specified configuration criteria.
- The total number of teachers who meet minimum computer training requirements as specified by the Middlesex County Education Technology Training Center.
- Eligible classrooms must have, or commit to have, existing cabling, network infrastructure and/or Internet access. (Exceptions will be considered if access is proved to be impossible.)
- Participating school districts must commit to maintain or increase their current level of technology funding.
- Teacher training will be coordinated by the Middlesex County Education Technology Training Center and the Middlesex County Vocational Technical Schools. Classes will be available at the ETTC training center in East Brunswick and all County Vocational Technical schools throughout Middlesex County.
- Teachers must complete a total of 20 hours of instruction in one of three levels of training (beginner, intermediate and advanced) in order to qualify for a computer.
- The computer hardware/software package(s) will be revised to reflect changes in technology on an annual basis.
- Matching computer package(s) supplied by the schools (if applicable) will have to meet specific criteria but need not be the exact package offered by the County.