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Posted March 9, 2018

Missing My VCR (or maybe not)

"Technology can be so overwhelming. Wonderfully convenient, but intimidating, too," Supt. Reedy writes in reference to the district's new online registration process.

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I miss my VCR. Oh, I appreciate that these days I can watch just about anything at any time on any device – movies, TV shows, crazy cat videos on my television, computer or phone. That’s all good. It really is. But sometimes I long for simpler days. Technology can be so overwhelming. Wonderfully convenient, but intimidating, too.

I’m guessing some of you may be feeling that way about our new online registration process. Yes, it is much more convenient for parents. Yes, it will allow us to keep better, up-to-date data on our students, including contact information like phone numbers and home addresses that seem to be ever-changing for a portion of our population.  

Even so, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic for those old school registration days. Cafeterias and gyms filled with teachers, students and parents excited to see each other again or curious about their new surroundings. Friendly, welcoming staff with all kinds of good news and information to share.

Then I start thinking about what those days were really like – especially through the eyes of parents and guardians. Long lines in stuffy rooms where parents who rushed from work or the middle of preparing dinner squeeze into cafeteria benches to fill out yellow, blue and pink cards that never seem to have enough space for the information requested.

Parents trying to keep one eye on rambunctious children as they search for something to write with, only to find a broken pencil or pen that inevitably is out of ink.

Parents who don't remember the phone number of their doctor and dentist.

Parents who don't read English, relying on their children to translate for them.

It’s funny how nostalgia can gloss over reality. Let’s face it, the VCR wasn’t that great a tool, not compared to the technology we have today. Remember when it ate your tapes, or the tape got stuck. Remember when all that was left on the shelves at Blockbusters were corny, decades-old comedies that you had already seen. And the fines! Remember how much money you spent because you left rented movies in the backseat of your car or forgot to rewind! 

Back-to-school events aren't going away. We will still be visiting with returning families and welcoming new ones come August. We will still get together to share information, provide direction, show support. And how much better will those back-to-school events be now that parents don’t have to worry about filling out paperwork and can concentrate on getting ready for the new year.

Just as some of you may be hesitant to embrace new technology, please remember that some of our parents are feeling the same way. Not all. We’ve already heard from many who are thrilled to be able to jump on their computers or smartphones to update their children’s information. But others may not feel so at ease using technology, or they might be comfortable with the ways things used to be.

Please be patient with them, especially those who have limited access to technology. You can go here to get more information so that you can help them with online registration.

While you do that, I think I’ll watch a crazy cat video on my phone.

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