City school board OKs technology purchase

By Kristy D. Carter - [email protected]

The world is changing, and while school systems once had to tend with purchasing books for students, in today’s society, the demand for new books has transferred to computers.

The state has changed mid-year and end-of-year assessments to online, forcing school systems to rid inventory of outdated computers and procure enough replacements and new devices to allow for there to be a one-to-one ratio between students and devices.

Clinton City Schools has worked for the last two years to discard desktop models and replace those with newer mobile devices, like Chromebooks. Monday night, the board approved the purchase of 240 computers, eight carts and a three-year warranty on the devices. This, technology staff says, only brings Clinton City Schools closer to reaching their strategic goals and plans.

“Clinton City Schools still does not currently own enough digital devices to test all students online at one site in the required time frame without borrowing devices from other schools or displacing students and teachers in classes where the curriculum requires access to digital devices,” John Lowe, director of technology, explained to board members.

The total cost for the approved purchase is $66,074.64.

Monday night’s decision allows digital learning funds to be positioned for the purchase of the 240 devices to be distributed to Sampson Middle, Butler Avenue and Sunset Avenue schools.

According to Lowe, the additional purchase will allow for student use to enhance the ability of teachers to leverage updated digital content and enhanced teaching practices including blended instruction that combines face-to-face and online activities, as well as personalized learning that includes flexible resources for each student.

“This purchase will help alleviate current access issues and allow us to discard more of the oldest and most unreliable computers in the district,” Lowe added.

Clinton City Schools has been a Google LEA since 2015, which means all teacher and student storage has been transitioned to Google Drive. In spring 2016, 600 Chromebooks were purchased.

“These devices have served well, as teachers make the transition to digital teaching and learning strategies and content,” Lowe said.

In the summer of 2016, the technology department discarded 36 Dell Dimension series computers that were originally manufactured in 2003 and 2004. By 2019, Clinton City has a goal to have the average age of all digital devices to be six years old or less.

“These devices no longer support modern operating systems, modern networking capabilities, cannot be upgraded, and were deemed end of life,” Lowe explained. “We have plans to replace the remainder of these units with devices shifted from labs where new desktops were procured through the use of CTE funds.”

In January, the board approved the purchase of an additional 210 Chromebooks and seven carts to be used for charging and storage.

“We are also in the process of discarding more of the oldest desktop units at Sunset Avenue and L.C. Kerr Elementary schools and replacing them with units made available through a recent CTE purchase and shift of devices,” the technology director explained.

The Chromebooks will be divided into eight mobile carts of 30 units each. Sampson Middle School will receive one cart and 30 units. Butler Avenue School will receive three carts and 90 units. Sunset Avenue School will receive four carts and 120 units.

By Kristy D. Carter

[email protected]

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.