Lake County Schools, this week, announced that during the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year, every student in a district-operated school will receive a Chromebook computer to support the district’s common instructional vision and provide support for its Instructional Continuity Plan in the event of evolving conditions around the COVID 19 pandemic.
According to a press release from school officials, in past years, high school students have paid a $32 technology fee for the use of a device for the year. Student device usage was optional at each high school. With distance learning required as a result of the school closure at the end of last school year, however, emphasis shifted to ensure that every student had access to a device.
“As a result, the fee will not be assessed during the 2020-21 School Year. Students in K-12 will be able to take the device home, and if there should be an unanticipated closure, each student will have a device to continue their instruction,” the release says.
Lake County Schools students used more than 32,000 Chromebooks during the fourth quarter of the 2019-20 school year and kept the Chromebooks over the summer to engage in Summer Learning Opportunities.
Chromebook orders across the nation are extremely strained as a result of the pandemic. The district’s Information and Instructional Technology department has been working with vendors to receive more than 9,700 Chromebooks to complete the project. As of now, shipments are on track and Lake County Schools is monitoring for any changes in delivery dates.
“Equity of access has always been a long-term goal of this project,” says Duane Weeks, Executive Director of Information and Instructional Technology. “Under the leadership of Superintendent (Diane) Kornegay, this emphasis on Instructional Technology paid off when school closed due to the pandemic. Now we are taking this project to the next level by providing every student access to a device.”
What having a Chromebook does for students, is provide them with access to the Google Apps for Education, including Classroom, Docs, Slides and many more applications that can be used for online learning. Lake County Schools is committed to using devices to support student collaboration and authentic literacy. Students also have access to their textbooks online and many other resources to help support instruction.
An intensive period of training and support for using technology to support instruction will take place during pre-planning for teachers, and with that, Lake County Schools says it “is dedicated to providing engaging and standards-aligned instruction to all students, no matter which learning option they chose for the fall.”
Lake students were offered four learning options for the reopening of schools on Aug. 24. The four options were traditional face-to-face learning in school; full-time online learning through Lake County Virtual School; full-time online learning through Lake Live, which includes teachers from the student’s assigned brick-and-mortar school; and a modified-day schedule that allows students to take part of their classes in the school building and the remainder online at home.
Students who do not have a district-issued Chromebook can reserve a device at the following link. More details about Chromebook distribution will be made available to students and families the week of Aug. 17.