Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - KGVO News spoke to new Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Micah Hill on Monday about issues that have been making national news headlines, including school libraries and AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools like Chat GPT.

There have been numerous national news stories about parents reading pornographic material to local school boards that their children have brought home from their school libraries.

Superintendent Hill Encourages Parents to Peruse School Libraries

Superintendent Hill said MCPS parents are always welcome to ask about the books in their child’s school libraries. In fact, he said all library book titles can easily be found on the MCPS website.

“We actually have our entire library catalog available online on our website,” began Hill. “So parents can go in if there's a book that they're particularly interested in seeing if it's a part of the library, and it's fully curated and available. We're connected in with the Montana State library system, as well, so I think any opportunity that a parent wants to review or peruse, especially if there's a specific title that they're looking for, I don't see that as being an issue at all.”

Parent Interaction is one of the Reasons why Hill Became MCPS Superintendent

Hill said one of the reasons he found the offer to come to Missoula so attractive was because MCPS encourages interaction with parents.

“We actually want parents to be involved in our schools and want them to know; and I think those are great dinner time conversations to say, ‘hey, what book did you check out of the library this week?’, especially at our elementary schools where they have an opportunity to go in once or twice a week and have library time and an opportunity to check out books, so I think that's a great opportunity.”

Hill said AI and Programs like Chat GPT are Here to Stay

Regarding the rapid rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and tools like Chat GPT, Superintendent Hill said MCPS has had presentations from experts on the subject.

“It's ushering in a new era,” he said. “We actually had presentations from Dr. Jason Neiffer with the Montana Digital Academy. He's done quite a bit of study around this and the responses from school districts and teachers when it comes to artificial intelligence. One of the things that he points out is that right now Chat GPT, or our generative artificial intelligence is pretty dang good. And it'll only continue to get better in terms of what it's capable of.”

Hill said the conversation must now center on how best to utilize the new tool of Artificial Intelligence in public schools.

“I think the conversation then for schools is how do we support students with the technology,” he said “It’s not too dissimilar to when computers were first being widely used or even calculators for that matter. It has a lot of benefits, possibilities and uses but I think we're in a tough spot when it comes to how we effectively teach and model for our students the proper use of AI and Chat APT.”

Hill is in his first year as MCPS Superintendent, replacing Dr. Rob Watson.

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