For this assignment I was thoroughly amazed at how far the South River School needs to improve on its use of technology. Since I have been here, it was grown by leaps and bounds, but as one can see from the Maturity Benchmarks Survey, we have a long way to go.
While we taught ourselves as the best school in South River, we have many gaps that need to be filled. Since we are a self-funded Independent School, we are responsible for all our costs. We do not have the luck of public funding or being to able ask for millages. These handcuffs have hampered what we were able to afford. About 10 years ago, our Technology Department had a budget of $50,000.00 for the purchase of new technology and up keep of the current technology. However, with the economic down turn then, and a new school opening up in our target area, we had some major hits. As of now, our Technology Department does not have a set budget. Any purchases come out of a general fund. Thus, we are not able to keep up our devices as we once were able to.
Since we have such a gap in funding and we do not have the staff to adequately run a Technology Department (One full time Tech director who runs the website, and teaches classes, among other duties and a part time tech who misses a lot of work) we have been stuck in the island phase of most our Maturity Benchmarks. Most teachers at South River do use technology well, but it is not a primary focus of them. I have been fortunate enough to be allowed very nice technologies in my room because I use them, most teachers need guidance and hand holding when it comes to introducing new technologies to their courses.
Other than budget, support staff, and technology integration across the curriculum, our biggest challenge at South River School is support from administration. Since we are fully self-funded and need to retain students, our administration is dragging their feet on adaption of new technologies for both the middle school and lower school. While they discuss money for improvement on infrastructure and everything else that needs to be done for a 1:1 environment, I feel we are not gaining enough students to stay competitive in our area. Once we get this funding question answered (students pay for devices or school purchases devices) we will continue to be behind the eight ball.