Middle school and high school students in Whitley County will soon have more computing power at their fingertips thanks to the Whitley County Board of Education.
The board voted unanimously during a special called meeting Thursday to lease 1,500 Chromebooks that will be assigned to all students in grades 7-11 throughout the school day.
The devices will follow the students as they progress through subsequent school years.
This initiative is in keeping with the district’s commitment to providing a twenty-first century educational experience for its students that is second to none, Superintendent Scott Paul said in a release.
“This has been a goal of ours for the past seven years but it has always seemed we couldn’t find the right device or the necessary funding to make it happen. This has certainly been a team effort but I especially credit the leadership of CIO Kevin Anderson and WCHS Principal Bob Lawson for helping make this dream a reality. The students are the big winners here today,” added Deputy Superintendent Paula Trickett.
High school students in upper level computer courses will provide tech support for the devices which will benefit not only the district in maintaining the devices but also the high school students as they gain real world experience in preparation for becoming college and career ready.
“This is a landmark day for our students, staff and community. Our mission is to provide our students the best possible education and this initiative is a monumental step in doing that,” Lawson added.
Anderson noted that this is something the district had been hoping to do for a while.
“Going one-to-one will allow teachers more flexibility in that they no longer have to worry about trying to schedule computer lab time and it also opens up so many more opportunities in the classroom. There are many web based programs that we utilize in our classrooms and now teachers and students will have access to those sites daily if they choose to do so,” Anderson said.
The three-year lease is about $58,000 annually. Funding will come from a combination of site-based decision making council funds, technology funds and general fund monies.
The typical life of a Chromebook is about three years, and at the end of the lease, the district will get new Chromebooks, Paul said.
“The potential for textbooks being on these devices is there, but that is yet to be decided,” Paul noted.
While the district currently has some Chromebooks at the elementary school level, there are no plans at this time to go to a one-on-one basis in the elementary schools, Paul said.