First shipment of Chromebooks will be distributed this week

Technology director Fayette Adams and Stephen Rizzo, district chief academic officer, displayed Chromebooks for the board of education on Nov. 5. The white touch unit is for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students, while the keyboard model held by Rizzo is for students in grades three through 12.

      Hundreds of Google Chromebooks, the first of two shipments to Mansfield City Schools this month, will be distributed to Mansfield Senior High, Mansfield Middle School and Malabar Intermediate School this week.

      The late-February shipment will complete the number needed at those three schools, plus supply the needs at the elementary buildings. Every student then will have a Chromebook to use at school, the goal of the district’s 1-to-1 initiative.

      Chromebooks are laptop-type computers capable of containing lesson assignments, videos, textbooks and supplemental materials. It is important that students be familiar with them because all state-required testing is now done online.

      The 1,640 Chromebooks being delivered this month will supplement the 1,700 already in use throughout the district. Most of the 1,700 are on 30-unit carts shared among classrooms.

      “We will not assign Chromebooks to students for the balance of the school year, but every student will have one to use during the school day,” said Stephen Rizzo, the district’s chief academic officer.

      Superintendent Stan Jefferson said earlier that policies and procedures will be developed that may allow students to take the Chromebooks home during the 2020-2021 school year.

      At the board of education’s Nov. 5 meeting Rizzo asked the board to accelerate acquisition of the Chromebooks.

      “Our goal is to close the gap in digital access across the district,” he said. “Instead of taking three years, we are asking you to take a big step and close the gap this school year.”

      Rizzo’s plea was answered. At its Dec. 17 meeting the board authorized $850,000 for the purchase of the Chromebooks plus 174 interactive touch-screen LCD panels – large display screens – to supplement 39 already in use in classrooms.

      An additional $60,000 will be appropriated later to pay the cost of the manufacturer’s installation of the LCD panels over the summer.

      "One of our goals from the beginning has been academic rigor. Technology is the key to that,” Jefferson said.

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