By Marianne Ward
Special to GUIDON
Beginning in August, Waynesville R-VI students in grades six through 12 will each receive a Chromebook that they will be able to take home during the academic year through Project Edge, Educating our Digital Generation Effectively.
Parents of students in grades 6-12 will be asked to attend one of the district’s informational meetings or to watch an online informational video. Meeting dates and links to the informational video will be forthcoming later this summer.
The accelerated delivery of Chromebooks to students in grades 6-12 is based upon the success of the 1:1 program piloted at the Waynesville Sixth Grade Center in January 2019.
“We had planned to issue Chromebooks to students in 6 to 12th grades by January 2020; however, at the request of students and teachers, we are moving up our timeline,” said Michael Henson, director of curriculum and instructional technology. “We have been so pleased with how the Chromebooks are being used; sixth graders and their teachers have established a high standard for their proper use. Our sixth graders have demonstrated that they can be responsible.”
Each Chromebook will be assigned to an individual student and the same Chromebook will follow a student through four years of school in the Waynesville R-VI School District. The district’s content filters will remain in use on the Chromebook, even when it’s at home.
“Technology is designed to enhance teaching, not to replace classroom instruction,” said Dr. Brian Henry, superintendent. “Chromebooks will serve as one more tool for teachers to use to enhance student learning.
“Effective use of technology is a prerequisite for success in higher education and the workforce,” he said. “Through the EDGE initiative, our students will learn to communicate effectively using tools that only technology can provide.“
Students in grades three through five will have cart-based Chromebooks that will remain at school.
Funds from Proposition 1 — the school tax levy increase passed in April 2017 — are speeding up the process.
The new devices, coupled with new programming through a 2018 Department of Defense Education Activity Fund grant, will enhance learning through technology.
In addition to keeping the district eligible for Federal B-2 Heavily Impacted Aid, Proposition 1 provides $600,000 annually in new local revenue for safety and technology.
(Editor’s Note: Ward works in the Office of Communication and Marketing for the Waynesville R-VI school district.)