Some Tyler ISD board members expressed concerns about the district’s decision to open access to YouTube on campuses.
Board member Brad Spradlin said he thought the site could become a distraction from the learning that is supposed to be going on in the classroom. He said he supports continuing under the previous circumstances in which the district would occasionally unblock the site based on specific requests from teachers.
“To be honest with you, I have a real concern with this,” Spradlin said. “There’s a lot of good on YouTube and there’s a lot of trash on YouTube. … I’m concerned with it becoming an instrument where a lot of students wind up moving away from task.”
Spradlin made the comments during the board’s May meeting on Thursday. Although the issue was not one brought before the board for vote, district administrators provided information about the change.
Categories include comedy, entertainment, film and animation, gaming, how-to, style and more. But it also has educational videos that district administrators say can supplement instruction.
Included among these are videos to help prepare high school students for the new standardized end-of-course exams.
TISD Superintendent Dr. Randy Reid said the goal is for teachers to use the website as another tool. He said the situations are few and far between where students have large amounts of time to spend on the computer.
“It’s got to be controlled, we understand that,” he said. “But if we don’t have access at all, I think it stems the tide of information.”
Board member Andy Bergfeld asked whether teachers or other staff members could have more control over what students access and whether there would be a different procedure for computers in open-access labs or libraries.
TISD Technology Director John Orbaugh said the district either opens access to the website or closes it. There is no in between. He said after the meeting that there is no way to filter videos based on content. The district’s technology doesn’t provide that option.
He and Reid said the responsibility will be on the teachers to review all content before they use it in a classroom and to watch their students’ Internet use in the event they are on the computers.
At Washington’s request, the district agreed to provide an update about the use of the website and any incidents that might occur.
In other business, the board:
q Approved more than $897,000 worth of expenses related to the John Tyler High School track and field improvements. These funds will cover sidewalks, slabs, concession stands, fencing, utilities and demolition, among other items. RPR Construction will serve as general contractor for the project.
Earlier this month, the board approved about $735,000 worth of track and field work at the school.
q Approved the resignations of Robert E. Lee High School principal Roger McAdoo and John Tyler High School Principal Shon Joseph. McAdoo will take a position as White Oak Middle School principal in New Caney ISD. The district announced in March that McAdoo would not be principal next year. He has been Lee principal for six years. Joseph will take the principal position at Little Elm High School. The district announced his departure last week.
q Watched the swearing in of District 5 trustee Spradlin and District 7 trustee Bergfeld. Spradlin began his fourth term on the board. Bergfeld is returning to the board after previously serving as District 1 trustee for seven years. Both men ran unopposed in the May 12 election, which TISD canceled. Ron Vickery, who served as District 7 trustee for the past nine years, chose not to run.