HVEF presents Power of 100 to School Board
The HVEF presented the Power of 100 Campaign to the School Board on January 17, 2012. Below is the article printed in the Hopewell Valley News on January 19, 2012.
The Hopewell Valley Education Foundation (HVEF), a nonprofit formed in the early 1990s that works to help the Valley’s public schools, has embarked on a fundraising program to buy iPads for use by students in the district’s six schools.
The foundation hopes the program, which seeks donations of $100 or more from at least 100 residents and businesses in the Valley, will spur corporations and other entities to contribute to purchasing more iPads.
Kevin Kuchinski and Jessica Clingman, of the HVEF, summarized the program at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. It met with a very favorable reception from board members and Superintendent Thomas Smith.
At board member Dan O’Connor’s suggestion, board President Lisa Wolff said the board should consider passing a resolution supporting the HVEF plan at its meeting next month.
”We’re trying to enhance the educational experience of our students,” said Ms. Clingman, who predicted that the iPad “is almost going to take over from computers.”
The fundraising program derives its name, The Power of 100 Campaign, from its efforts to get at least $100 from 100 individuals or businesses.
The program will get started Jan. 27, when information about the program and on how to make donations will be posted on the HVEF’s website at hvef.org/powerof100.
Donations can be made before the Jan. 27 kickoff date.
”Anyone can go to our main site (www.hvef.org) and click our donate button (in the upper right of the window) or mail a check to HVEF: The Power of 100, P.O. Box 553, Pennington, 08534,” Mr. Kuchinski said.
”Anyone who gives $100 or more will be part of The (inaugural) Power of 100, but we have four giving levels: Superintendent — $1,000 or more; Valedictorian — $500-999; National Honor Society — $250-499; and Honor Roll — $100-249.”
The Power of 100 program is based on a successful multi-year effort of the Branchburg Education Foundation, Ms. Clingman said. “We are very excited about the inaugural The Power of 100 campaign and its focus on technology. Each year we plan on having a different focus for the campaign.”
The program will include sending letters requesting donations to many residences and businesses throughout the Valley, Mr. Kuchinski said.
Dr. Smith was enthusiastic about the effort to start bringing iPads into the schools. “It’s a user-friendly tool that’s easily updated,” he said.
The superintendent said students in schools now go back and forth between computer labs and their classrooms. Having iPads for use in the classroom “would break down the barrier” formed by having computers in one room, for use by students for a limited time, and their regular class in another room.
Dr. Smith said the district needs to “embrace bringing more technology into the curriculum.
”We should be moving kids toward making power-point presentations instead of dioramas. I think we’ve been lagging behind some other districts.”
He pointed out that the Lawrence district is giving each student a laptop and that the Monroe district is now using iPads instead of textbooks. He also pointed out that there is strong trend toward standardized testing being done online rather than on paper.
Board Vice President Leigh Peterson raised the issue of how much the iPads are actually needed, since, she said, so many children have access to many types of online gear at home.
”Yes, it’s true that a lot of kids are prepared for technology at home,” Dr. Smith replied. “But a lot of kids aren’t.”
Board member Roy Dollard sounded a cautionary note. A longtime engineer by trade, he said he understood the importance of keeping up with technological opportunities, but he stressed the importance of not letting those opportunities be a distraction or impediment to basic educational goals.
”I’m concerned about the ‘three Rs’,” Mr. Dollard said. “Students don’t read as well as they did 40 years ago. And they sure don’t write as well.”
Ms. Clingman and Mr. Kuchinski replied that they agreed with Mr. Dollard on the three Rs. They said the intent of The Power of 100 program is to help students master the basics while keeping up with technological tools they will have to use throughout life.
The 17 board members of the HVEF already have contributed $4,500 to The Power of 100 campaign.