3 pilot schools receive Chromebooks

DeSoto Elementary is one of three schools chosen for the Chromebooks pilot program. Photo courtesy David Schubert

Over the next three weeks Leon County Schools will distribute as many as 25,000 new Chromebooks to students. These resources will assist with in-class and remote learning.

Superintendent Rocky Hanna made an announcement on Oct. 13, during the school board’s meeting, that the district would receive 30,000 new Chromebooks for students in the district.

Hanna also revealed that teachers would see a pay raise. There will be a nearly $6,000 increase, from $37,548 to $43,304, said.

Furthermore, three schools have been selected to participate in the pilot program for the Chromebooks: Woodville Elementary School, Cobb Middle School and DeSoto Trail Elementary School. They will be the first batch to assess the electronics.

“All students have a device in their hand. Our ultimate goal is to guarantee that all classrooms are learning successfully. Whether there is a pandemic going on or not we want everyone making progress. Regardless if a student is home, in-person, on vacation or out sick; we want them to have a smooth transition from paper-base to on-line learning,” DeSoto Trail Principal Michele Keltner said.

On Friday, Oct. 30, the elementary school began to supply Chromebooks to students by hosting a Halloween drive-thru pick up. Kids appeared in costumes as they arrived to collect their new devices.

“Having resources like chromebooks and having leadership who understands what our students need makes all of the difference. In order for us to be successful, we must keep our students learning and engaged. Our goal is to ensure that every student is safe overall,” said Technology Specialist David Schubert.

The district ordered the devices over the summer to provide education more easily. However, due to COVID-19 there was a brief delay in shipment, which forced the facility to discover new ways to connect to their classrooms.

“The kids are loving it. All of my online first graders are being assessed on their learning frequently. It’s pretty cool to see them actually making progress remotely. My students visited the school on Friday to pick up their Chromebooks. It was very neat to see that we have all created a bond through a computer,” first grade teacher, Teri Hagen said.

Hagen explained that it’s been an adjustment period for everyone. The kids start off with reading and math in the mornings. Then, they move on to social studies and science during the afternoons. To help build a stronger relationship with students; they dance together to foster harmony and union.

“Despite everything going on, it is important that we don’t leave any students behind. Our directive as a pilot school is to work out any bugs or issues so that when the Chromebooks roll out to the other schools they work really smoothly,” Schubert said.