Feb. 8th! The Newport IT working group afterschool program called the Thompson Techno Expo

The Newport IT working group has been putting on an after school program called the Thompson Techno Expo.  We are culminating with a public expo on February 8th with the intent of the students teaching the community about our local communication infrastructure.

It’s been a lot of work and we’re hoping its a beta project for other after school programs.


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Survey Question #1 Responses – School Committee save $500k per year?

ADD your responses below! Or post them on our Facebook page! Share this with your Newport neighbors, tell us what you think! Your voice, your community, your opinion matters!

 “The city could save half a million dollars.” We heard this first from Harry Winthrop at an ALN forum in April. Now we have Naomi Neville’s comments in the Newport Daily News’ Guest View column of 5/28/13 making a clear case for combining School Committee and city resources in managing finances and other administrative services for the schools. Do you think this would this be a good idea?
06/03/2013 7581023 [Yes]
It is an administrative savings that is long overdue.
06/05/2013 7607639 [Yes]
Great idea, but it might not result in actual tax savings. The savings would end up on the school side and might not count toward maintenance of effort. Regardless, it is money which could be put toward early education programs.
06/05/2013 7607877 [Maybe]
It is worthy of examination. With the proper controls, checks and balances in place, the schools Administrator should not have to worry that educational funds would be siphoned off elsewhere. There is also the concern that the schools would be nickel and dimed to death by city government and handicap professional educators from being truly innovative.
06/05/2013 7607915 [Yes]
Sadly too many vested local interests benefit from our legendary municipal inefficiencies.
06/06/2013 7610554 [Maybe]
sounds good, although I am not sure what the downside would be
06/06/2013 7610727 [No]
If the school committee where appointed maybe. This only transfers money from one side to the other and does not save money. Better to share with Middletown. That would be a real savings. City and Schools are very different operations. I know because I did this for a living.
06/06/2013 7610787 [Maybe]
need to read more
06/06/2013 7610759 [Maybe]
Not that familiar with the government of Newport, but, if there is duplication within the two groups, let’s get rid of duplication or similar duties.
06/06/2013 7610922 [Maybe]
More study and discussion needed.
06/06/2013 7610965 [Yes]
The School Committee is dysfunctional. The city should take over essential non-educational operations.
06/06/2013 7611755 [Yes]
Reduce duplicate Admin
06/06/2013 7611821 [Yes]
The school committee has not used good financial procedures. The city has offered — and should — take over managing school finances. The added benefit would be to improve trust between the council and school committee.
06/06/2013 7612591 [Yes]
a good idea, yes. however with the proviso that, if this combination is less successful than the current separate policy, then a return to a new and improved version of the then former method.
06/06/2013 7612981 [Yes]
The $500,000 savings alluded to would be realized by the School Department and will free up money for education. The cost of delivering those services would be transferred to the city; that cost has not been determined. The eventual savings are likely to be in the $200,000 range.
06/06/2013 7613933 [Maybe]
I am not sure I understand how this works currently, so I would like to see a side by side comparison of the two operating models. It is important to use our resources wisely, and avoid duplicating efforts — but we also need to make sure decisions about Education aren’t overly influenced by external and/or irrelevant factors.
06/06/2013 7616744 [Maybe]
Depending on how it’s implemented, this one could go either way…
06/06/2013 7623705 [Maybe]
Not sure – I can’t believe we can’t get a better handle on this.
06/06/2013 7623827 [Yes]
They are about 15 years late
06/06/2013 7631741 [Yes]
All Aquidneck Island schools should be administered together
06/07/2013 7636748 [Yes]
In a shrinking school district, it would make sense for the school department and city to share some services.
06/07/2013 7640047 [Yes]
We should also combine districts on the island. Having 3 school administrations on this size island is so wasteful and ridiculous.
06/07/2013 7640100 [Yes]
I generally agree, but have some concerns about the City being able to deal effectively with school personnel matters. I fear the City’s HR staff may not have the background and experience needed to address personnel matters concerning educators.
06/07/2013 7648198 [Maybe]
i don’t believe there would be any savings.
06/08/2013 7650665 [Maybe]
Devil in the details. Sometimes one gets less with less.
06/08/2013 7652394 [Maybe]
This is the biggest no-brainer I’ve seen in a long time — unless there is something we don’t know.
06/09/2013 7656513 [No]
Two different missions. Don’t compromise both.
06/09/2013 7657348 [Yes]
Should have been done a long time ago.
06/09/2013 7657424 [Maybe]
Not enough facts to give a yes or no.
06/09/2013 7657856 [Maybe]
There are pros and cons to the centralization of any process. In the case of the schools, relieving educators of non-education-related tasks would (presumably) free them to elevate the educational services to be delivered. On the other hand, what resources are available from the School Committee? None, as far as day-to-day administration is concerned. And city government does not seem as administratively gifted as one would hope at the moment, so transferring tasks to the city is of questionable value.
06/09/2013 7659436 [No]
In the 40+ years I’ve followed Newport administration and politics, the one constant has been the antipathy of the City administration toward the school department and, more generally, toward education. Administrative functions for the schools are quite specialized and quite different from the city’s functions. It would make far more sense to pursue regional initiatives and consolidation with other school districts for these functions.
06/10/2013 7662560 [Yes]
I agree that some combining would be a good thing, but have reservations about the hiring of teaching staff and who would be doing that
06/10/2013 7663104 [Maybe]
not if it means more job losses for the school department. They’re already short-handed.
06/10/2013 7664980 [Maybe]
I have not read Naomi Neville’s piece in the NDN. I would need more data to make an informed decision. Intuitively, it seems that savings could be realized.
06/10/2013 7667750 [Yes]
Every successful business combines resources and trims budgets for fiscal health, why should three very small towns be separate?


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Question #1 Responses – January Survey “3 Questions, 3 Minutes”

Question #1:

Safety in the schools is a hot issue in the aftermath of continuing gun violence in public places.

What plans would you support to insure the safety in public schools and other public places?

Answer Count Percent
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
1. Locked doors; armed security guards 30 16.48%
2. Mandatory defense training for all teachers and school staff 30 16.48%
3. Outlaw automatic weapons, assault rifles, and magazines/clips holding more than 10 rounds; and make background checks mandatory for all gun sales 95 52.20%
4. Other 27 14.84%
Total 182 100%

Metal detectors; but no armed guards, please.
This is a very rare event. Kids are just as likely to get struck by lightning at a football game (it does happen). RI has a high level of gun control. I think we are doing all we reasonably can.
I do not think we need armed guards and training of school staff should be of a preventative nature – they should not be armed, but nonlethal items such as mace and tear gas maybe necessary. Each school should have an emergency plan and conduct drills so everyone knows what to do in event of an attack. Every exterior door should be locked with the main entrance door electronically controlled with the lobby of each school constructed to serve as a containment area from which visitors may not pass without inspection. Each class room should be a safe haven with lockable solid core door controlled by the teacher or a master switch at the entry and every classroom should have an alternate escape route to the outside. While we can do the above, lets remember that gun control and reporting and follow-up of abnormal behavior are also factors. School security is not the sole answer.
Locked doors and stricter gun laws
Locked doors…secuirity guards without guns
Locked doors, police detail outside school at opening and closing times.
There are innumerable retired, well trained service men and woman who would gladly be sworn in to volunteer to stand watch at public schools. This needn’t be a burden and further expense on the community but it is a necessary but unfortunate step in the direction of safety and security for school children.
Preserve our right to sovereignty as democratic citizens but require arms to be kept in gun clubs, armories, and other non-governmental places under civic oversight. Require civic achievement and service of those seeking gun permits.
Teacher should not carry guns in schools sends out the wrong message they are there to teach.
Teach conflict resolution, non-violence in schools across the nation. The idea that we would all be safer if we all carried assault weapons is absurd – what, we should whip out our guns as a first resort?
Outlawing guns entirely within city limits would be the best option.
Lockable steel doors on all rooms. A wireless personal alarm, pepper spray and maybe taser guns for staff. A security plan in place.
For schools and other public spaces, some kind of alarm system that can be activated in multiple places in the event of a threat.
Whatever we can do to stop this senseless violence!
Locked doors. Offer free training for teachers and staff interested, after school on their own time.
Increased police presence in the area of schools
Appoint a school safety officer to assist local schools with the development of plans and strategies to make the schools safer. Plans should include responses to bullying, and identification of and assistance to troubled students.
Have classes in peaceful conflict resolution.
Special training for all teachers to enable them to enact standard procedures in the event of an event. Further, there should be drills.
Locked doors in school. Less sensationalism of the perpetrator by the press. They win. We DO NOT need to make him a celebrity. What were the gun assaults before and what have they been since. As a society we need more caring, less hate and violence. Life in America is full of entertainment violence and degradation of society. When are we going to become an intelligent and caring society. TRASH SELLS???? at what long term costs??? Integrity is gone from most aspects of society.
Approve H.R. 93, the Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act, on January 3, 2013. Under current federal law, gun dealers whose licenses are revoked may convert their inventory to personal collections, to be sold without conducting background checks on purchasers. The Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act would end this dangerous practice.Support a comprehensive assault weapons ban, and legislation, H.R. 138, introduced by Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) to prohibit the transfer or possession of assault-style large capacity ammunition feeding devices. I have also co-sponsored legislation, H.R. 142, to require ammunition be sold only by licensed dealers through in person transactions; to close the gun show loophole, H.R. 141; and legislation, H.R. 137, to ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check on all firearm sales.
I’ve checked the locked doors/ armed security guard box, but only because I agree with the locked doors element. I am not persuaded that the security environment in Newport provides a basis for instituting an armed guard paradigm.
Metal detectors
Locked doors at all entrances and all classrooms.
Defense training for teachers and school staff – but no weapons!
Any household having guns should let the schools be aware of that fact.
More studies should be done as to how to recognize signs of a person with mental or emotional problems which might lead to harm being done to others.
If studies prove that violent video games, tv shows and movies lead to violent behaviour then they should be banned.
Teachers, Principals, School Staff should all be trained in how to treat each other and their students with respect, and they should demand respect from their students towards them and towards their peers. Lack of respect and civility in today’s society is rampant. Let’s try amending this flaw.
We find ourselves in this situation because we are willing to sacrifice community safety for individual freedom. This is an ongoing dilemma, a function of American history and culture. I believe there is really no way to “solve” this problem; we will simply have to live with it.


Steve Heath seeking advisers for “Newport FabLab” at East Bay Met School

(October 21, 2012) A team of educators, industry representatives, after school providers, and public officials are developing a digital fabrication studio (FabLab) in the Florence Gray Center in the north end of Newport. (1 York St Newport, RI 02840 )

Leading this initiative is Steve Heath, Community Learning Specialist, East Bay Met School. Steve has 15 years of program development in urban public, and private schools  and can be reached at (401) 439-0160, sheath@metmail.org, or 1 York Street, Newport, RI 02840

The Newport FabLab promises to serve as a catalyst for educational collaboration and industry participation by addressing disenfranchised and high achieving students of all ages.

Steve says that he is “committed to the ‘FabLab’ project because it addresses educational needs, business aspirations, community development opportunities and innovative ideas.”

What is a FabLab?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fab_lab    

Photo of the Amsterdam FabLab at the Waag Society





















A FabLab (fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop offering (personal) digital fabrication.

A FabLab is generally equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make “almost anything”.[3] This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production.

While FabLabs have yet to compete with mass production and its associated economies of scale in fabricating widely distributed products, they have already shown the potential to empower individuals to create smart devices for themselves. These devices can be tailored to local or personal needs in ways that are not practical or economical using mass production

Popular FabLab equipment and projects:

Flexible manufacturing equipment within a FabLab can include:

The FabLab would serve youth, artists and businesses, CCRI students, adults interested in developing marketable skills, and Newport County technology companies.

The FabLab can provide Newport County residents with alternative pathways to Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) careers through mentoring and personalized education, as it links Newport County’s high-tech professionals from Raytheon, over 40 technology-oriented companies, and the Naval Undersea Weapons Center (NUWC) with area students.

Once fully developed, equipped, and staffed, the Newport County FabLab would provide:

· Classes and workshops for students and adults

· Daily after-school programs for middle and high school students

· Facilities to rent for local companies and entrepreneurs

· Classes in collaboration with CCRI, including a specific curriculum designed to enable high school students to get an early start on an Associate’s Degree in Micro Manufacturing or other high-tech subjects.

Our team includes:

We are presently seeking advisors to lend their expertise as we plan for a technologically savvy Newport County.

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