Continuation of 1:1 Chrome Books K-12

On May 13, 2019, the Board of Directors authorized implementing a 1:1 Chromebook program at Woodland High School.  On May 11, 2020, the Board of Directors authorized the expansion of the 1:1 Chromebook program at Woodland Middle School.   Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have relied on students K-12 having access to Chromebooks.  This access has been essential as we have engaged with students.   Please see the memo below from Technology Director Steve Rippl, requesting consideration of expanding the 1:1 program to our elementary students beyond the current pandemic-related expansion.  

Date: April 21st, 2021

To: Michael Green

From: Steve Rippl

Subject: K-4 Digital Learning

Before the pandemic hit, our district was gradually undergoing a digital learning transformation. More and more of the tools and resources our teachers use to do their work of teaching and assessing are now digital. i-Ready and Savvas/Pearson are two of the big ones at the elementary level, but there are lots of other smaller but powerful tools being used. Our high school was already 1:1, our middle school was heading there (hastened along by the outbreak), and then our K-4 students also suddenly required a device all the time to stay connected to their learning.

Now thankfully, our students have, or are, returning to school, but our teachers’ desire to ensure the students have access to devices whenever needed hasn’t abated. Before the pandemic, our two larger elementary schools had 2 or 3 carts to share per grade level, which would sometimes mean the tools weren’t available when needed. Understandably our K-4 team is asking that we maintain the level of access we have now and provide one cart per classroom (with computers staying at school, not going home). Students and teachers have been thrust into the digital transformation and would like to keep the most valuable parts around to continue to support learning.

In practical terms, this means purchasing another approximately 200 Chromebooks this year and then beginning a 5-year replacement cycle at the K-4 level. We can stretch this out a little further than for the middle and high schools because only our 3rd and 4th-grade devices need to remain completely within their software support time frame due to State testing. We can always move older devices down to the lower grade, where they can still be utilized a little further if they reach the end of support but are still usable. We also need to purchase some more carts as we don’t quite have enough for every classroom, even with the ones we’ve taken out of the middle school. But this is really an infrequent purchase as they last many, many years.

Going forward, we would then essentially be purchasing three grade levels of computers per year, one for K-4, one for the 5th, and one for the 9th-grade levels (plus a little to support TEAM and LRA). The board has, in prior years, committed to 1:1 at the Middle and High School levels at an estimated cost of $100,000-$120,000 per year. The addition of K-4 will increase the annual cost to approximately $150,000-$180,000.

Administrative Recommendation /MOTION/ "I move we approve the recommendation to expand the district's 1:1 Chromebook program to include grades K-4, as presented."