East Grand School District to purchase laptops for all students | SkyHiNews.com

East Grand School District to purchase laptops for all students

East Grand School District (EGSD) is working to get ahead of the technology curve.

The District recently initiated a $1 million four-phase technology plan. The plan includes replacing outdated hardware, improving district technology infrastructure and increasing wireless access. The main aspect of the plan is to purchase Chromebooks for each EGSD student.

The four-phase plan was developed after the EGSD recognized a need to improve the district’s technological capabilities.

Phase one of the project is already under way. The District is conducting the bidding process for the purchase of student Chromebooks, each one valued a roughly $260.

Chromebooks are laptops designed to use Google Corporation’s Chrome operating system and are cloud based, meaning all programs and most data are stored in an online “cloud” or digital storage system accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.

EGSD Technology Director Kery Harrelson extolled the virtues of Chromebooks saying, “We do four things on computers. We research, we collaborate and communicate, we create and we use them for presenting. The Chromebook does all those things and is more or less maintenance free.”

Eighth-graders at East Grand Middle School (EGMS) will be the first students in the district to receive their Chromebooks, which should be coming before the start of next semester.

Second- through fifth-grade classes at Fraser Valley Elementary (FVE) and Granby Elementary School (GES) will receive sets of eight Chromebooks initially.

Phase one of the project also includes a Chromebook Bootcamp for parents and students to learn about the technology. Upgrades to wireless access at FVE and GES are also included in Phase one.

Phase two of the project will begin implementation during the summer break in 2015.

Phase two includes Chromebooks and Chromebook management classes for each Middle Park High School student. Incoming EGMS sixth-graders are also scheduled to receive Chromebooks at the beginning of next school year. Phase two will include additional Chromebook Bootcamp classes for parents and students and also involve the replacement of teacher laptops that are out of date.

Phases three and four of the project will be completed at later dates. Timing is dependent upon when future funding becomes available and any possible cost savings that occurs during the life of the program.

Phases three and four feature upgrades to switches, firewalls and wireless networks, backfills on Chromebooks and still more Chromebook Bootcamps for parents and students.

In July 2013, after a year of research on the issue, the EGSD Board of Education authorized the pursuit of mill-levy funding for a technology initiative. Residents of the district voted down the ballot measure.

In response the District’s Technology Team, in conjunction with the District’s Leadership Team, developed the four-phase plan with a cost of $1 million. The plan utilizes donations from various community members and local and state charitable foundations in addition to $250,000, Money in Lieu of Land, in confirmed support from EGSD itself.

The Sprout Foundation Fund of the Grand Foundation has confirmed $250,000 in support for the project. Other local foundations have confirmed $10,000 in support with an additional $80,000 in donations pending. Private individuals have donated a combined total of $50,000.

So far the EGSD has $660,000 in confirmed donations for the $1 million project. The District welcomes any additional contributions and is working toward its $1 million goal.

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