BOCES takes to cyberspace

Blog aims to inform and engage community on education issues

— When it comes to conversations about public education, the Internet has taken up a place along with the coffeehouse and PTA meetings as a preferred forum. And the educational services group BOCES is getting in on the action.

In August of 2012, BOCES launched EducationSpeaks.org, a blog designed to present news and commentary on education to communities, and let them in on the conversation. The blog is sponsored by Capital Region BOCES in collaboration with other BOCES groups, and focuses mainly on Upstate New York.

Jill Aurora, one of Education Speaks’ main contributors and founders, said the group wanted to initiate a conversation, especially between parents and educators. School district officials also can use the blog and discuss issues or post an entry about something going on in the district. She said they also have followers on Facebook and Twitter, and sometimes Tweet questions and comments to county legislatures.

“We just want to provide an opportunity for people to hear the real story from public education from the educators themselves,” Aurora said. “I would love for it to be a place for people to come and ask questions about education.”

Narrowing in primarily the Upstate region, District Superintendent of Capital Region BOCES Charles Dedrick said it’s important to have “all points of view, to have the opportunity to be heard.”

“Some of this information isn’t really carried anywhere else. There’s national education blogs, but the fact is there’s nothing like that (which) provides opportunity for a voice in Upstate New York, at least that I know of,” Dedrick said.

Blog posts vary from positive stories about student achievement from more than 150 school districts to videos concerning specific educational concerns to the looming budget cuts most districts face. Dedrick said right now, one of the major topics being discussed is Gap Elimination Adjustment school aid.

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