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Tech Upgrades to Prepare Hillsdale Schools For PARCC Tests

Students will take the new standardized tests on computers starting in 2015.

George G. White Middle School. File photo.
George G. White Middle School. File photo.
Upgrades to technology infrastructure are expected to make Hillsdale schools ready for new standardized testing to take place in 2015, according to Superintendent Rick Spirito.

Those upgrades will include a new fiber optic Internet network which is currently being installed and is expected to be ready early next year, according to Spirito. The Hillsdale Board of Education is also expected to approve a $17,500 proposal from Needle Solutions to perform an assessment of wireless access in district buildings so that any weak spots can be addressed before the new testing begins.

When New Jersey begins using the new PARCC Assessment in the spring of 2015, students will take the test on computers. 

"We need to make sure our infrastructure is up to par so we're prepared for these assessments," Spirito said.

Hillsdale schools have had wireless access since 2005, according to Spirito. An increased presence of technology in classrooms has also increased the need for wireless access. More access points may be needed, he said.

"Obviously, things change quickly with technology," Spirito said. "Within the district, the system that was installed was very good. As we begin to increase the use of new technology, we need to make sure our current system covers our entire buildings."

The costs of new technology can be high, but local school officials are trying to save money where they can. The new fiber optic network will allow Hillsdale's K-8 schools and Pascack Valley High School to share Internet service. The borough schools will pay the regional high school district $1,500 per month for the service through September 2018, at which point the contract could be extended for another five years.

"We're going to increase our bandwidth and save money in the long run," Spirito said.

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