A 2015 program to provide Dell Chromebooks to Gardner Edgerton High School students, culminated in 2016 when board members were told 1,400 students are using computers on a daily basis.
The new program provides digital resources and learning tools to enhance instruction. Laptop carts have been provided; a laser engraver purchased and installed in a GEHS classroom, and students in a technology class have been troubleshooting and repairing the Chromebooks.
Total, about 1,550 Chromebook laptops will be distributed in grades 9-12 at a cost of about $500,000, according to Leeann Northway, USD 231 public information officer. The program is being in part by the 2012 Bond issue, budgetary planning and reallocation of resources.
“Equity in learning is extremely important to our students and teachers,” said Mark Meyer, GEHS principal. “In the past, many students did not have equal access to technology in the home as other students, but with this initiative, the same learning tools used in the classroom will be available to all students off campus.”
1:1, the learning advantage, is a program designed to make sure students are prepared for college and career after graduation. In 2016, GEHS students received a Dell Chromebook, charger and protective sleeve for use at home and school.
The Chromebooks must be returned at the end of the school year, and failure to do so will require a $300 reimbursement to the district. The devices are not available for sale due to tax laws and trade-in value needed to sustain the program for future students.
USD 231 has an acceptable use policy which outlines how students are expected to behave with technology, and it outlines what is considered acceptable including email, the internet and any applicable networks.
Key points listed include: maintaining the confidentiality and not permitting others to use the log on name or password; not using the device for commercial or other unlawful purposes; and not deliberately accessing, creating, sending or forwarding any obscene, sexually explicit or racist files or images.
Students using the devices have no expectation of privacy; activity may be monitored. USD 231 currently has an internet filtering system, and the technology management program has the ability to disable devices if lost or stolen.
Although the district does not filter internet usage off school grounds, a list of websites that provide helpful information to those parents interested in monitoring internet usage are available.
To receive a laptop, students’ parents must have attended one parent information meeting and signed the computer loan agreement in Skyward, the district’s database for their student to receive a Chromebook.