SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 147
August 30, 1996
|FROM:||Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Saturday, October 26, 1996, is "NetDay 96". NetDay 96 is a nationwide effort by groups of interested people to install wiring in classrooms in their local schools on NetDay or during the month of October 1996. The approach suggested is to have a group of local volunteers, after extensive planning, come into selected schools to drill holes in walls, pull wire through the holes, and connect the wire to outlets in each classroom. The labor would be provided by volunteers. Funding is expected to be provided through local business contributions. Each participating school will have at least five classrooms wired and many schools will be wired completely. The amount of wiring done will depend on the number of volunteers and funds available. The goal of NetDay 96 is to provide students in each school access to the Internet. Parents, students, business people, technicians, teachers and other volunteers to assist in the NetDay 96 project are being recruited by volunteers and other individuals in communities throughout Virginia. These volunteers are being organized into small groups to plan for the day. Pre-NetDay 96 activities include organizing and training volunteers, contacting school officials, publicizing the event, completing a site survey and wiring plan, scheduling workers, securing tools and materials, and developing business partnerships for help and donations. Organizers hope to contribute by installing wire where it is needed and laying the foundation for Internet connectivity. Potential volunteers in Virginia and other eastern states are being made aware of the "NetDay 96" East effort through publicity in national and local news media outlets. Volunteers are being recruited through a national NetDay 96 or Virginia NetDay 96 website. The national site address is http://www.netday96.com and the Virginia site is http://www.cgs.org/netday-east. Both should be referred to for further information about NetDay 96. Volunteers can log onto the Virginia site and either register their local SUPTS. MEMO NO. 147 August 30, 1996 Page 2 school for wiring (they become the lead organizer for that school) or work as members of teams for another school. Once a lead organizer is recruited, a NetDay kit is available. The kit is a how-to guide that includes information on everything from getting started on the project to creating partnerships to deal with technical issues. Samples of task checklists, tool inventories, endorsement letters, press releases, and cable installation guides are included. While the opportunity to get citizens involved in the activities of their local schools is to be encouraged and commended, the following issues should be noted by Division Superintendents and School Principals regarding NetDay 96: Schools can be and often are registered without the knowledge or consent of school officials. Many states participating in this event have not had funding dedicated to infrastructure improvement to the extent that funding has been provided by the General Assembly in Virginia. Uninformed people may not realize that their school is already wired or planned to be wired under terms of their local area technology plan. Groups of action-oriented volunteers may not realize the value of early contacts with school officials. By bringing officials into the process late, volunteers may be frustrated by procedures established to ensure the integrity of facilities and safety of students. In many divisions, professional plans for installing local and wide area networks (LAN's and WAN's) have already been created, and once implemented, will far surpass the capabilities of the NetDay 96 effort. These plans usually accommodate safety issues such as drilling through fire walls, asbestos-related concerns, and liability issues that may not be adequately addressed when volunteers begin to make modifications to a school. There are also other concerns that may affect plans in each school division. Some schools may want to participate in NetDay 96 and will not be ready to install wire on October 26th. Technology awareness events might be organized around the day. These include publicity concerning the purchase of technology, a school NetDay 96 rally, technology fund-raising activities, classroom activities/discussion about the Internet, or a future NetDay recruitment drive. A letter being sent to schools by Senator Charles Robb's office is attached for your information. SUPTS. MEMO NO. 147 August 30, 1996 Page 3 The Division of Technology, Department of Education, is attempting to compile a list of activities in schools relating to NetDay 96. Should you decide to participate, a summary of your activities will be appreciated. RLP/fc cc: School Principals Attachment: This memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office.