District moves to 1:1 Technology for middle and high school students
Walla Walla Public Schools is taking deliberate steps to ensure all students have access to technology and the latest curriculum materials by implementing a 1:1 technology program for middle and high school students beginning this fall. Rather than making Chromebooks available for students when only at school, each student will be issued a device for their use throughout the school year that can be used at home as well as the classroom. The district will also be supplying each student with a case for their Chromebook to protect it from damage.
“Overwhelming feedback from recent teacher, parent and student surveys revealed a strong desire to implement a 1:1 deployment with our current Chromebook inventory at the secondary level next fall,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This transition will allow us to pivot current and future curriculum adoptions to more online versions, ensure equity of technology for all students when at home and minimize the amount of textbooks students are currently required to bring back and forth every day to school.”
The 1:1 technology initiative will also help the district navigate the uncertainty of operating schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This provides us great agility to respond to whatever scenario we are faced with in the fall, whether we are still distance learning, face-to-face or some sort of hybrid in between,” said Superintendent Smith. “Issuing personalized devices addresses many of the challenges we would have faced, including disinfecting devices after every student use.”
Technology Director Forrest Baker and his team are developing processes and procedures for the initiative in preparation for the transition. The district has developed a very-low cost, optional insurance program for families that will help cover damage, lost and stolen devices. Robust internet safety measures, technology Help Desk provisions, and devices to support families who lack internet connectivity at home are being finalized prior to fall’s deployment.
“One of our district’s core strategic plan strategies was ensuring alignment of our robust technology access across the district,” said Smith. “Transitioning to a 1:1 delivery furthers this goal as we address equity and our desire to ensure all students are prepared for the 21st Century.”
PHOTO: Technology Network Engineer Shane Jacobson takes inventory of new Chromebook devices to be distributed to students this fall as part of the new 1:1 technology program.