After signing off on an agreement for nearly 9,000 computers at about $3 million, many students and staff in Greater Clark County Schools will start the 2013-14 school year with a computer in their hands.
The district’s board of trustees unanimously approved a series of measures that will bring a one-to-one computing initiative to all students in grades three through 12 in August.
Christina Gilkey, board president, said she’s glad to see one major portion of the district’s new strategic plan not only come to life, but in a bigger way than they directed.
“Just last month, we approved our strategic plan,” Gilkey said. “The No. 1 goal under our facilities and technology piece was to be equitable in our access to technology all across the board. And within a month, we’re not only doing that for grades six through 12 [as directed], but in grades three through 12.”
The four passed measures include a three-year lease agreement for more than $2.98 million for 8,700 Samsung Google Chromebook computers for students and staff, as well as the creation of an eLearning coach position for the district.
The fourth measure — the acceptance of the Innovation Grant to partially fund the initiative — was unanimously passed in a separate vote.
Amy Schellenberg, executive director for educational services, said parents will pay $11.50 for each student to use the computers at school and home, along with the existing $8.50 fee for technology curriculum. She said overall, though, textbook rental fees for elementary students have decreased by $20 for next year.
Brett Clark, director of information and education technology, said the computers will allow students and teachers to not only collaborate with each other in the classroom, but also across the district.
He said after considering iPads and Windows Surface tablets for the job, the Chromebook came out on top for a number of reasons, including overall cost and suitable functionality for teachers and students. But he also said setup and device management were primary concerns. He said before Google ships the devices, they are already tethered to a student account, simplifying setup for the district.