Middle School to adopt 1:1 program
Washington Middle School will have a 1:1 program next school year.
The decision to include the middle school in the 1:1 program with the high school was made in January, said Washington Community School District (WCSD) Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen.
Jeff Brock, technology director for WCSD, said the teachers at the middle school have been pushing for a 1:1 program for over a year.
“We’ve been wanting to do it, but it’s just been trying to work out the budget,” Brock said.
The district has $350,000 set aside in its budget for the 2014-15 school year for the technology department. A grant application has been submitted to the Washington County Riverboat Foundation asking for $60,000 to help with purchasing the Google Chromebooks for the 1:1 program at the middle school, Jorgensen said.
“If we don’t get any additional funding it may change things a little bit,” Jorgensen said. “We may be in a situation where they can only be checked out in the core curriculum areas, but we don’t anticipate that to be the case, but that’s not the plan. But we’re still looking for a little bit of funding in our tech budget to be able to do it for everybody.”
The district hasn’t decided what brand of Google Chromebook they’ll use yet, Jorgensen said. There are a couple of things they’re considering when making the decision, such as price, availability, and the staff in the information technology department being able to work on them as needed.
“HP has a really nice one we were looking at, but it’s the first generation and there are no parts,” Brock said. “You have to actually send it in to get anything fixed on it. There is a new Samsung Chromebook coming out in the next few weeks that we’re kind of curious to look at, but it might be a little out of our price range.”
Students at the middle school won’t be allowed to take their Google Chromebooks home. Instead, they’ll check them out during first period and check in before they leave to go home, Jorgensen said.
“We’re planning on the Chromebooks being a three-year rollout,” Jorgensen said. “In other words, what we get we’ll have for three years and then we’ll turn them over. By not having the kids take them home, we think we’ll get a better chance of them making it for three years.”
The details for the program are still being worked out, Jorgensen said. An informational meeting is being planned for parents and Internet safety guidelines are being worked out for the students, Jorgensen said.
With the rollout of the 1:1 program at the middle school the media aide will be the first person students will see if there is an issue with their Chromebook, like Joan Hippen is at the high school, Jorgensen said.