District steps up students’ use of Chromebooks

Policy to provide more devices to be taken home for assignments
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton School District has adopted a policy to assign Google Chromebooks for students to take home beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

“We’re changing from having the Chromebooks in our classrooms on carts to the students being assigned a laptop to take home,” district Director of Technology Rick Seybold said.

This year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is offering a five-year grant for schools to support a one-to-one device plan.

During each of the past three years, the district purchased 400 Chromebooks to support its cart model, which allows teachers to bring devices into the classroom for group projects and assignments.

“We really don’t want to have the teachers rely on using the carts because they can be in use in other classrooms,” Seybold said.

Starting next year, Chromebooks will be assigned to fifth and ninth-grade students, who will keep the laptops for four years.

“The plan is for grades five through 12 to have devices that go home with them,” Seybold said, noting the new proposal also increases the number of iPads purchased for early elementary classrooms.

Seybold said that by the time the plan is fully implemented, there will be Chromebooks for every student in third and fourth grades, but the laptops will only be used in the classroom.   

The grant being offered by DPI provides school districts with ninth-graders to receive $125 per freshman each of the five years. Chromebooks cost $300.

“With our school budget, this plan is very sustainable,” Seybold said.

The overall cost needed for the equipment has no budget increase in the first two years of the plan.

Beginning with the 2021-22 technology budget, an increase of $16,450 to $36,450 is needed to sustain the plan. The variance in the cost depends on the phased retirement of the devices, Seybold said.

The cost of parts and repair will have an immediate budget increase estimated to cost $10,000.  

Seybold said the plan is not meant to replace textbooks, but rather to create more opportunities to use technology at a higher level.

“The expectation is that every student has access to a computer at home,” Seybold said. “Our hope is not more screen time for students but to have targeted and productive use.”

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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