School board ponders books
by Courtney Warren
Aug 13, 2014 | 1534 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cleveland School District Board of Trustees met Monday and debated textbooks versus e-books..

Trustee Todd Fuller asked, "Do we know if everyone has books? Is it possible to get an email from every principal and every teacher saying 'I have' or 'I need books'?"

"I met with every elementary principal in July and we talked about common core and what direction we were going because, first of all, we've got to get parents and community to understand that when we all grew up you got a math book, and you got a science book, and a social studies book and a book for every subject. They started at the front of the book and worked all the way to the end and that's when you knew it was time to go home. Well, that book is no longer necessary like that. The book is a resource. It's supposed to sit on the shelf like an encyclopedia … what we decided as a group was to use Engage New York," said Dr. Lisa Bramuchi, the assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Bramuchi explained EngageNY.org is a Website with lesson plans to be used by teachers.

"Everything is right there. A teacher called me two nights ago and said 'this is wonderful and what I needed' and she also said 'some books I just need one of and some I need others.' I said get that to your librarian to look and see what you don't have, give the list, and we'll go from there. All of the elementary said we don't need anything.

"We're going to communicate this to mommas and daddies," Fuller asked.

Bramuchi said the principals' job is to get that information out to parents.

"We will get phone calls saying 'Johnny doesn't have a book,' and we've got to be able to answer that,” said trustee George Evans.

"The middle schools got together and they are buying class sets of books to use for resources, and we are going to see if we can get the e-licenses," said Bramuchi.

"So we have the books and those teachers have every resource they need to teach those kids," Fuller asked.

"We are trying to get to the point, where instead of buying hardbound textbooks, we get e-books. What you've got to realize is that textbooks can't switch over to common core and say 'we're common core ready' because they're just not," said Bramuchi.

"But are we getting the resources our teachers are asking for and need so they can adequately teach? So we can communicate that to the families," said Fuller.

"I just believe in buying things that are going to make it better for the classroom teachers, but not be wasteful, just to have a book. If you see some of the textbooks they send in, that are common core books, they are ridiculous. They look like medical books. You would be angry if your child came home with seven of them and you would be calling back and saying 'my child cannot carry seven of these.' The e-book is the way to go; when they get them to where they are common core ready. The bottom line is to make them think and analyze, the resources are out there," said Bramuchi.

Trustee Richard Boggs said, "Textbooks are a major industry in this country. They are very expensive," during the discussion of e-books.

"And it's not a curriculum," said Bramuchi.

"Are they going to have the stuff they need? We've already started school, and they don't have them," asked Evans.

"Cleveland High and East Side haven't sent me theirs. You want everyone to have the same and they've got to agree on which they want," said Bramuchi.

As students begin their classes they will see more common core and more eBooks and less traditional learning structure and textbooks.

In other school district news, Gerald Finley, Cleveland School District maintenance director, said the maintenance team has been repairing air conditioners, and "As of this afternoon we just have one."

When asked how hot it gets on the roof of the school, Finley said 144 degrees.

"We need to begin replacing the air conditioners next year. We did it about 20 years ago," said Maurice Lucas.

Finley also said, "We have several new custodians and they are doing well."

He added that these custodians would receive asbestos training among another types of training.

The board also approved the revised employee handbook, which according to Superintendent Jackie Thigpen, now has information on the new policies.

The board then discussed whether or not East Side High School and Cleveland High School would be on the same class schedule and whether or not they would have seven or eight class periods.

Thigpen said there would be another meeting with principals where the subject would be discussed so the board decided to table the matter.