Friday, May 16, 2008
SchoolPulse.com comes to Carlisle
A new community tool for Carlisle is now online. It’s called SchoolPulse.com. It is an independent, commercial web site where people can find information and discuss issues related to the local schools. “SchoolPulse was created to strengthen school communities by providing a user-friendly web site where our school community can gather online to get organized, be involved, and stay connected.” (quote from the web site) The Carlisle School has just been added to the web site.
John Boynton, who grew up in Carlisle and now lives in Concord, is the founder and CEO of the web site. Boynton had the idea that there are communities in towns, within schools and now, online. The site, www.schoolpulse.com, allows people to register to become part of the online communities. Boynton said, “We’re all about communities, nurturing virtual communities.” Presently, the web site is geared to the student /parent community, but Boynton’s view goes well beyond. He hopes people will use this site for dialogue of important issues within schools and within communities. “It’s a new medium. It’s a friendly place where we want people to be comfortable interacting.”
SchoolPulse is not an official link to the school. “It’s a resource for parents,” Boynton says. Since parents and teachers may discuss ideas there, Boynton expects that school administrators and school committee members will want to be a part of the community, to see what people are typing about, learn what is important to parents and possibly address those issues. Boynton adds, “We need a place to have discussions...It’s the extension of conversations at the playground.”
How it works
The Carlisle School, as well as Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS), are listed within SchoolPulse. An individual can be associated with more than one school, such as the Carlisle School and CCHS. A person can not post information unless they register on the web site. This is easy to do.
You do not have to be a parent to join the school community at SchoolPulse.com. Anyone can register to be part of the web site community. On the web site, there is a calendar posting events and meetings; a facility to discuss, collaborate, share and post photos and videos; a bulletin board and a community area where other members can be found. There’s also a Question and Answer area.
There are some ground rules for the site. When you register, you are asked to “come as yourself, respect your neighbors, and be constructive.” The web site is “a place to share information and exchange ideas. It is not a forum to criticize our friends, neighbors teachers or administrators.” It is not meant to be a gripe session. Boynton stressed the community aspects of the web site, emphasizing how important it is to respect each person contributing to the web site. People who do not show that respect will not be permitted to continue to participate in the SchoolPulse community.
Boynton said, “We don’t make any money now.” Later, he hopes to add advertising. He and his staff are moderators for the web site. “Over time, we need the community to adopt this as their own.” Vice-president Pamela Rosenthal added, “We want it to be self-sustaining.” Boynton wants to build involvement. He is hoping parent groups of the school join and post their meetings and events. “A couple hundred people have already signed up in Concord.”
Currently, SchoolPulse.com is in the experimental, “beta”-phase. By fall, SchoolPulse hopes to expand across the state as well as the country. Boynton hopes that in the future, not only will people be able to discuss ideas within their school community, but also across communities.
Other on-line options
The official web site of the Carlisle School is www.carlisle.mec.edu. The school uses it to share information with students, parents and other members of the community. There are pages to assist student research, calendar and lunch menu listings, staff contact information, memos from administrators, policy documents and School Committee minutes. Some of the same types of data are provided on the CCHS web site at www.colonial.net/cchsweb. Unlike SchoolPulse, the schools’ web sites do not provide a forum for on-line discussion.
There are at least two other Carlisle-focused discussion groups available online. “City In The Woods” is a general discussion list, while the Carlisle Climate Action group hosts an online discussion focused on the environment and global warming. Both can be accessed through the non-profit town web site www.carlisle.org. The town government’s official web site is at www.carlislema.gov.∆
© 2008 The