Twitter Connections: Frequently Asked, but Infrequently Answered, Questions

Hilliard City Schools

CommentsRequest: Unblock Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, gaming sites, and other entertainment options.

My Answer: Unfortunately bandwidth is a limited commodity. Streaming music, radio, or videos, playing games, and posting large files takes a disproportional amount of bandwidth. We must protect our bandwidth for instructional needs. As we add devices each year, and begin to provide devices to students with our One-2-One rollout, the requirements for online resources, Apps, and instructional videos also increase.

My recommendation is downloading your playlists, videos, and/or Apps before students come to class. Yes, I always listen to music when I’m doing work; it is relaxing and enjoyable. I plan ahead, download my playlists, and listen to music without streaming it through the district’s Wi-Fi.

Question: Why don’t seniors get exemptions from exams anymore?

My Answer: Believe it or not, this isn’t a decision that’s been made by the superintendent. If you have questions about exam schedules, talk with your building principal. I will share that as a district we are asking philosophical questions about the value of semester and final exams. Personally, I’m not sure taking 6+ days per year away from instructional time to give exams is a value. Educationally, I’m not sure cramming and memorizing information – just to regurgitate it on an exam – has any value at all. I’d rather see students “produce” something and/or demonstrate mastery in a more authentic way. Stay tuned . . . the conversation will continue.

Also, as a point of clarification, the End of Course Exams that will be administered this spring are not district-level exams. These are new state requirements – these are now law. For the Class of 2018, these end of course exams are one pathway to earn a high school diploma. For high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors this year, these exams are not high stakes. Just do your best . . . you are setting the benchmarks and cut scores for future students. Again, the Ohio General Assembly enacted the state assessment requirements as law.

Question: Are you influenced by all of the students asking for snow days on Twitter?

My Answer:  I wouldn’t say I am influenced; our decisions are based on road conditions, expert recommendations, and weather forecasts. I am thankful our students are so connected and happy to communicate with our community about the decision making process. Twitter provides an opportunity to quickly share information. It is wonderful for me, as a superintendent, to be accessible to our student community and to be part of a larger conversation.