Laptops to be Distributed to VCS Students for Technology 1-to-1 Program
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
Volusia County Schools is working on getting thousands of laptops into the hands of middle and high school students throughout the county, as the school district prepares to transform into a Full Technology 1-to-1 Program.
The transformation is set to start sometime this month, as the district secured 33,000 laptops for use by secondary students.
“About 400 students at six schools piloted the checkout. System and tested the new Dell Laptops over the past month, and that pilot was a success,” said VCS Chief Information Officer Clint Griffin. “Schools will begin sharing their rollout plans with families, as a broad distribution of laptops to both middle and high school students will this month.”
Middle and high school students will use laptops both in school and at home for homework and projects.
The district has plans to launch a full technology 1-to-1 program for all students (K-12) over the summer – meaning each student will have a device starting in the 2021-2022 school year.
“We have worked toward the goal of becoming Technology 1-to-1 district for several years, and we are excited to have that opportunity now,” said VCS Superintendent Dr. Carmen Balgobin. “Our goal is to enhance and support the learning environment.”
“With more than 60% of Volusia’s traditional classroom and Volusia Live students qualifying for free or reduced lunch, many families do not have the resources to provide a computer for their children,” Griffin said.
“Many of our students do not have access to a computer at home, and this will give them technology equality, it really will be a game-changer for many of our students.”
While middle and high school students can use their devices both in school and at home, the elementary students in pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade will be given Apple iPads, while grades three through five will be given laptops for use in school only; these devices will remain in classrooms.
The Volusia County School Board last fall approved a contract to secure 33,000 student devices and 2,500 teacher devices. The new program is being funded by revenue from the half-cent sales tax approved by voters to support technology upgrades, and also with federal CARES Act funds.
The laptops are Microsoft-based, designed for K-12 students with a high-powered processor and large memory to handle technology-based lessons such as mathematical computing, scientific calculations, graphic design, and project work. In December, the School Board approved the purchase of classroom carts to store and charge iPads that will be used in the lower grades.
Families will be provided technical support resources, and help desk support at both the district and the school level.