SCHOOL COMMITTEE NOTEBOOK: In Year #2, 1:1 Chromebook Program Is A Success

WILMINGTON, MA – At the most recent Wilmington School Committee Meeting, Assistant Superintendent Sean Gallagher gave a presentation on the district’s Chromebook program.

The 3-grade program has been “quite successful so far,” said Gallagher, pointing to the current student participation rates.

95% of 8th graders, 97% of 9th graders, and 97% of 10th graders are participating in the program. The remaining students are using loaners or other devices, like laptops or iPads.

“Students are doing well, incorporating 21st century learning skills into their assignments,” said Gallagher. “Students are, knock on wood, adhering to acceptable use policies and procedures.”  Gallagher also noted there are a lot fewer damaged Chromebooks than excepted, with students taking great care of their devices.

Gallagher attributed the program’s success to an effective tech support staff; inspired staff and administration; ongoing professional development; supportive families and students; and an accessible loaner program.

The program’s four major objectives, according to Gallagher, are: (1) forming a partnership with Wilmington families to provide a valuable learning tool; (2) creating a sustainable model to stay current with technology advancements; (3) offering financial assistance to families in need; and (4) providing viable options for students who choose not to participate in the Chromebook program.

Gallagher’s report included information about the financial assistance component to the program.  Scholarships are offered to purchase Chromebooks at reduced prices. Qualification depends on income, size of family and unique family hardships. Families must include supporting documents. The financial assistance applications are included in the Chromebook handouts. Those are sent to central office to review and approval.

“It’s important to understand that technology never replaces great teachers, rather, it enhances the curriculum to a 21st century platform,” stressed Gallagher. “We need to continue to provide quality professional development to teachers [on this program].”

Gallagher specifically recognized staff members Trish Volpe, Dana Burnham, Julie Kelly, Kevin Welch and Linda Peters for their efforts in the ensuring the success of the 1:1 Chromebook initiative.

For families who will be new to the program next school year, the district will mail out information to them in January. A Chromebook Program overview presentation will take place for families in mid-February. Registration will then be ongoing through the district’s website.

Watch the discussion, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below beginning at the 95:10-mark:

 

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