Starting next year, there will be a $40 student fee increase for middle school students as the district begins its 1:1 digital program.
The initiative includes a three-year phase-in, starting with Chromebooks for middle school students, then laptops for high school students in 2017 and Chromebooks for 3rd through 5th graders in 2018.
Eventually Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd grade will receive one Chromebook for every four students.
The initial pilots have the support of teachers.
“They all have access to the same things, they all have access to the same resources in one place. That’s been really, really big and I just really hope that moving forward, and cross my fingers, that more teachers and students have access to this wonderful teaching tool,” said Lanna Himes, a teacher at Fischer Middle School.
To gain a better understanding of the potential these devices have, board members stepped inside the classroom.
“I’ve probably never seen that many kids that engaged and excited about some of the subject matter that I saw first hand,” said Board Member Maria Curry.
While technology is positively changing the way students learn, a concern raised by board members is parent education and involvement.
“That is a big disconnect I’ve heard with parents, is that ‘oh my gosh, I don’t know what my kids are doing as much. I’m not seeing a math worksheet, like you alluded to, coming home anymore. I need to understand this better’ because parents want to be involved and data shows the more involved the parents are in their students education, the better those kids do,” said Board Member Mark Rising.
The district plans to host several technology nights for parents in the coming years to provide support for technology use at home.
Naperville News 17’s Rachel Pierson reports.
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