To address the ever-changing legal challenges inspired by the latest technological advances, National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) announces a unique partnership and learning opportunity that draws from two of the most dynamic fields in education: school law and education technology.
Building on the popularity of the TLN’s spring series, a new education technology site visit will take place October 12 to 14 in the St. Charles Parish, La., school district, held concurrently with NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) School Law Practice Seminar in New Orleans..
“In a time of increased social networking and communications both among students and faculty, the need for school lawyers and school-based technology coordinators to remain abreast of legal trends in the field is readily apparent,” said NSBA General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón, Jr. “The partnership between COSA and TLN is a natural one that is sure to contribute positively to dialogue.”
School policies and legal guidance often struggle to keep pace with the rapid advancements resulting from the introduction and adoption of new technologies, added Ann Flynn, director of education technology and state association services for NSBA.
“This new meeting is designed to address that intersection and offer attendees the practical guidance they need from COSA’s relevant technology-oriented sessions by integrating a traditional TLN site visit around those legal workshops,” Flynn said.
Located 20 minutes west of the Crescent City, St. Charles Parish Public Schools serves about 10,000 students in 17 schools. The district’s successful integration of technology includes a nearly 2:1 student-computer ratio districtwide and a leadership culture that views its commitment to technology as an essential component within the school board’s Strategic Action Plan. The district’s freestanding Satellite Center where high school students can explore career pathways in engineering, culinary arts, multimedia and broadcasting utilizing cutting-edge technology tools will be showcased along with classroom visits and mini-briefings to other schools across all grade levels.
Technology leaders and school attorneys will get an update on the latest technology cases and how the outcomes could impact district policies. Discussion topics include the “do’s and don’ts” of data mining on job candidates and current employees, what forms of board member communication can be considered public information, and how districts can leverage Web 2.0 tools to improve community engagement and instruction without opening itself up to potentially embarrassing, libelous, and litigious situations.
“This event creates an opportunity for dialogue between attorneys and school practitioners to better understand each others’ positions around these emerging issues and provide both groups with valuable insights,” said Flynn.
A notable panel of legal experts, communication specialists, and district officials will lead a discussion on the inherent conflict between the First Amendment rights of media and the confidentiality rights of families involved in crisis scenarios such as cyberbullying and student suicides.
“The role that technology can play in those incidents, as well as how social media is used to transmit information about a crisis reflect the challenges educators face in striking the right balance with policies,” Flynn said. “New state laws limiting communication via social media between students and teachers is another example of how quickly the tech law landscape is changing.”
School tours and classroom observations will be interspersed throughout the three-day event, providing participants with a chance to watch technology in action, be it a computer electronics class that teaches high school students to rebuild and repair used computers that are then provided to their fellow students or an engaging and effective reading intervention program powered by the latest science and technological advances. District staff will also offer mini-briefings to ensure participants understand how professional development and the use of data contribute to the district’s success.
Registration is open and more information is available at www.nsba.org/tlnsitevisits/