LCSD No. 1 to provide tech for every student

Lincoln County School District No. 1 will soon transition into a one-to-one technology initiative for students.

LCSD No.1 superintendent Teresa Chaulk said this is a “big step” and that teachers and the administration are excited for the challenge of incorporating individual technology and devices for each student.

“We think this will increase student engagement, because technology is their world,” Chaulk said. “We hope this helps them feel more involved as a part of the teaching and learning process.”

K-2 students will each use iPads, along with keyboards that are necessary to use the devices for state tests like WYTOPP.

Grades 3-12 will each use Google Chromebooks.

“We’ve been piloting Chromebooks for three years with freshmen and seniors, and they’ve been very effective,” Chaulk said.

The one-to-one technology initiative will cost the district a total of $1.4 million. This cost includes $450,000 for the actual devices and $60,000 for Microsoft and Adobe software. The remaining cost will be directed toward updates to servers, switches, firewall security, improved All West fiber optics, equipment carts, video cameras, display devices (like Smart Boards) and installation for all of the networks and equipment.

The money for the transition came out of the district’s general fund. The cost was approved by the LCSD No. 1 school board at the May 8 meeting.

“We’ve been saving for this for a while,” Chaulk said. “We decided to make the change for this year before we see any more cuts from the legislature that could become an issue.”

Chaulk said the one-to-one devices will be helpful for teachers who incorporate Canvas online classroom tools into their teaching techniques.

“We’ll be using the tools that [students] will need later in life,” Chaulk said. “We’re doing them a disservice if we don’t offer these types of things.”

Chaulk said the district held a teacher training contest to see which teachers could become certified experts in Canvas first. Kemmerer High School teacher Bart Jernigan, New Frontier High School teacher Mitch Davis, fourth-grade teacher Laurie Peternal and kindergarten teacher Sarah Herrera won the contest and were able to pilot devices in their classrooms to help the district determine which would be most effective.

“These days you can’t take any college class without some kind of blended learning component,” Chaulk said. “We’re ready to embrace this challenge.”

Chaulk said the district’s goal is to have everything up and running during the first week of August, which leaves a few weeks for teachers and administration to work and train with the new technology before students arrive for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

The devices will stay in the classroom for grades K-8, but high school students can check them out to use at home.