Students in grades 6-8 will receive their devices in the 2021-22 school year in phase two. Grades 3-5 will follow in 2022-23, and the first cycle will be completed when kindergarten through second graders will have 1:1 access to a device in 2023-24. Beginning with the graduating class of 2024, students will be able to keep their device upon graduation.
Students in grades 9-12 will have complete responsibility for the devices, while sixth-through-eighth graders will have the option of bringing the device home or leaving it at school. Devices will be assigned to students in grades 3-5 but left in homeroom in a cart each day. K-2 devices will be assigned to a core classroom teacher for student use.
The plan was presented to the school board on November 7 by representatives of the Future Ready Tech Committee, which is made up of nine teachers and five administrators.
Committee member Dan Jeffers, Coordinator of Data and Instructional Technology, said the devices will be personal computers. Its use is expected to be more than a replacement for textbooks, but also “something to transform their learning,” he said. “It is a tool, not the end-all-be-all for instruction.”
From a teaching perspective, the move to 1:1 “is what’s best for kids,” said Ricardo Calles, high school Spanish teacher, and also on the committee. “Learning is a very personal process. Students with special needs would be able to work on individual needs, as would higher-level learners.
Additional collaboration on school assignments will now take place outside of the classroom, he added. “They will have access to information that goes beyond the classroom.”
The committee’s research found four constants in how 1:1 impacts student learning:
- Expands collaboration opportunities
- Encourages Critical Thinking
- Engages student creativity
- Improves communication
Member Jen Mott, an Assistant Principal at the high school, said “teaching can be completely transformed using a 1:1 platform.” Her experience with technology as a teacher and administrator has enhanced teaching and learning in and out of the classroom.
Teacher support will be provided during the transition, Jeffers said. “We want to provide teacher support for the broad spectrum of comfort with technology, removing the fear of the unknown.
Support and professional learning are keys to the success of this plan.”
The cost for the program will be paid from the General Fund budget. It will vary each year based on the number of laptops purchased and professional development. This school year, the cost to purchase 2,530 laptops for grades 9-12 for use in 2020-21 is $885,500. A $40 per student annual technology fee will be collected in grades 9-12 beginning next school year to also offset the cost. By 2023-24, the total cost for the year will be $1.2 million.