New York Districts With Web Sites
(as of Summer 1996)

Compiled by David Wiles, University at Albany

In late September New York State will attempt to "wire" up as many schools and libraries to the internet as possible. This is a major "barn raising" venture similar to what educators and citizens did in California. Beneath the political claims for who should receive credit for this New York initiative is the real acknowledgement that it is a wonderful thing for the public and private education of children. The mass linking to the internet is more than a technological exercise and should change the very meaning of school-community relationships.

New York Districts are responsible for communicating information about school performance to parents and citizens. In Fall 1996 districts will provide a School Report Card that will supplement information provided through annual state reporting (the 655 report) and the mandated shared decision committees. One new process of communication that will be looked at closely will be the use of school based web sites and the internet to present data electronically.

A major effort to identify schools with web pages in the United States and around the globe is called Web 66. The school registry effort for New York State and compiling descriptive statistics about all web page schools are projects of the College of Education, University of Minnesota.


Web Page Exercise

The exercise for EAPS 760 will be to describe a "state of the art" scenario about New York school districts and/or individual school buildings with operating web sites, especially those that u se the internet now and may (ultimately) provide "Report Card" performance information to the electronically connected audience.

Once you are familiar with the Web 66 information the following general educational policy questions may prepare you for approaching the scenario exercise :

  • How do the New York districts and schools in web operation cluster state wide? Are most on Long Island, in remote areas, only in rich suburbs, big cities?
  • What seems to be the intended audience(s) for the web page? Is the tone of the web page more "board and central office" or more "local school and classroom?"
  • Is academic performance, especially secondary Regents performance, emphasized within the web page message?
  • Is the server for the district or school found in a BOCES, RIC (regional information center), postsecondary organization, non profit organization or private industry?
  • Do the web page creators seem to be aware of the Bill Gates "futures" type of CD-ROM perspective in communicating what a electronically connected globe of schooling might mean?

The actual creation of the scenario about web page school jurisdictions in New York should be based upon consideration of seven questions listed below.

Question One:
The New York State Education Department provides annual state reporting for all New York State school districts on the world wide web. There is information on academic performance and school org aniza tion and there are data on sociological or census profiles for each of the 700+ jurisdictions in the state. To what extent are these kinds of data incorporated in present New York school site or district web pages?

Question Two:
The Web 66 site seems the very best in listing schools with web pages but can you find other sources and lists? This will give you a chance to compare various search engines and ways to access information on web page usage. For an overview of search engines try C/Net. Can you find this link? My favorite search engines are Alta Vista and Lycos, followed by Infoseek, but different strokes for different folks. As an example of the individually compiled "hot lists" you might find check the North Dakota entry.

Question Three:
Web 66 lists 53 New York districts, 82 secondary schools and 36 elementary school web pages. Albany, New York, for example, has no district or public elementary school listed. It does list Albany high school and the private Albany Academy for Girls in secondary and elementary web sites. In contrast, Ausable Valley district of Clintonville, New York is listed, as are Ausable Forks elementary and the valley middle high school.
How many of the 53 New York district webpages listed were connecting webpages for many individual school buildings? Will school districts and buildings present themselves electronically as a single "system"? Specifically, will use of the web for community relations and performance reporting reinforce the intra-district networking between local building sites and between individual schools and the central office? How would you assess this premise systematically if you were monitoring th e results of "wiring New York" in late September 1996?

Question Four:
The following is a partial list of New York School Districts presented with the www link written out. The server identification follows the "http://" designation. For example, Albany is served through www.cs.rpi.edu and Brighton is served through ww w.rocplex.com and so on. Also not all servers are alike. For example, see the conventional directory presentation of twelve districts in the Buffalo metropolitan area or the special private school e mphasis in the Capital Region Independent School Association . Why does any particular district or school choose a certain server?
Districts With Web Pages
As you explore the districts with the best or most developed webpages keep a "sociogram" of the spiderweb of servers also developing statewide. The question of world wide web is tied to the meaning of "server" and organizational coordination of we b operations.

Question Five:
Consider the 118 New York State webbed schools as part of the 2848 identified for the United States. Could we develop policy that would discuss state to national meanings of performance for this "educational system?" Would we argue that webbed schools have more in common with one another than their nonwebbed counterparts? What kinds of comparative perspectives would we look for to argue an international meaning of the 118 New York schools with the 235 in Australia, the 351 in Canada, the 196 in Japan, the 68 in United Kingdom or the 56 in Sweden?

Question Six:
Will use of the web for community relations and performance reporting make the state's present reliance on k-12 district jurisdiction less important for describing " New York: The State of Learning?" What about secondary "theme" schools in New York City and secondary schools throughout the rest of the state? What are the implications for public, private and parochial school discussion of secondary academic performance? New York City high schools with Web 66 pages include Bronx High School of Scie nce, Brooklyn Technical High School, Bushwick High (Brooklyn), Dalton School, The Day School, Dwight School (Manhattan), Edward R. Murrow High (Brooklyn), High School of Telecommunication & Technology (Brooklyn), Hunter College High(Manhattan), Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, Packer Collegiate Institute (Brooklyn), Regis High, Riverdale Country School (Bronx), Samuel Gompers Technical High, Sinnott Magnet School for Health and Health Careers (Brooklyn) Stuyvesant High School and Townsend Harris High (Flusing). Parochial secondary schools include Holy Cross High School (Flushing), St. Ann's School (Brooklyn) St. Mary's High School (Manhasset). Intermediate schools include Peter Rouget (Brooklyn), Dr. Sun Yat Sen and Mark Twain for Gifted and Talented.

Question Seven:
Can the particular set of 82 web page districts be explained by high Regents secondary performance, high suspension rates, high wealth capacity, census descriptions of the social and ethnic character of the district? If the conventional descriptors do not work, what measures might explain the world wide web connection? To become even more familar with the characteristics of communities that house webbed school districts you can a ccess the School District Data Base or other sources of census data generated by normal use size or for the huge storage needed for complete GIS mapping.