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Schedule has no room for keyboarding

Plenty of elementary and middle school teachers in Williamsville ask their pupils to type their projects on a computer, yet a fair number of those children have not been taught how to type, School Board members have said over the past few months.

That's likely to continue to be the case, the board learned on Tuesday. Board members and district officials seemed to agree that children would benefit from a districtwide keyboarding program -- but finding the time to squeeze it in would likely mean having to cut something else out.

"It's not that nobody sees any value in this," Superintendent Howard S. Smith said. "It's a question of limited time. We all agree there's value in this."

Earlier this year, the School Board asked what it would take to teach keyboarding in middle school.

Assistant Superintendent Linda L. Cimusz told the board Tuesday that in fifth and sixth grades, fitting in a 10-week keyboarding course would mean taking time away from art and music classes. In sixth grade, another option would be trimming time from home and careers classes. The district currently offers nine weeks of instruction beyond what the state requires.

In seventh and eighth grades, art and home and careers classes would have to be trimmed to make room for keyboarding, Cimusz said. Pupils now have six weeks of art beyond what's required and nine weeks of extra home and careers instruction.

Currently, about two-thirds of district students take a keyboarding elective in high school. Some teachers in some of the elementary schools incorporate keyboarding in their classes to varying degrees, but there is no districtwide program.

Board member Carolyn Giambra, a retired Williamsville teacher, said she remembers computers being in elementary classrooms since at least 1988.

"But we have yet to have a sense of proficiency or come to grips with the keyboarding issue," she said. "I want to go forward with this, and the time is now. It's long overdue."

Board members agreed that younger pupils would benefit from learning how to type, but most said they didn't see how the district could fit keyboarding lessons in.

"I don't know how much more we can beat a dead horse right here," said board President Linda Viksjo, who asked Cimusz to let teachers know that the board continues to be concerned with the situation.


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