New software raises questions for 9-R

I am curious about the School Vault, a software-assessment program being developed by Bayfield and Durango school districts. Information about it is seemingly in a secret vault. The Herald ran a vague article on May 2 regarding Bayfield’s $70,000 participation in the Vault, but little has been disclosed about Durango 9-R’s $889,000 expenditure in this software development.

How does the development of the School Vault currently affect our children’s education as teachers take precious time to test drive this developing technology? Why was $889,000 of a reduced school budget spent on this currently inept technology while 24 teachers, the gifted/talented programs and most of the librarians/media specialists have been eliminated from 9-R schools? Who will profit from the time and experience of our teachers who have been required to write test questions for each and every one of the core standards? Will Superintendent Dan Snowberger and his team patent the Vault and pocket the profits while valuable programs are cut? Or will those profits return to 9-R, so our once state-recognized library and gifted/talented programs can be reinstated? Why have teachers been reprimanded for airing their concerns regarding the Vault, which demands more of their time, is currently ineffective and does little to improve the quality of instruction for our children? Finally, in a time of budget shortfalls, is it appropriate for our school district to develop software? Answers, please.

As a retired 9-R teacher, I know this school district is blessed with many dedicated, creative, excellent teachers who know, without constant testing and data, just what students need in order to excel. The Vault, testing and all the data collection has effectively diminished their creativity, stressed their passion for teaching and exhausted them. May their summer bring them respite. May there be a investigation and transparency regarding the intent, expense and effectiveness of the 9-R School Vault. Let us think of our students and teachers as humans, not data.

Sandy Bielenberg


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