Franklin Regional looks to equip all high school students with Google Chromebooks
As Franklin Regional School District officials pursue the goal of equipping every high school student with a Google Chromebook, they plan to move away from in-classroom laptop carts and toward simply providing each student with one of the computers.
Following the success of a 2016 pilot program equipping roughly 90 students with Chromebooks, district officials invested $300,000 in additional devices, sufficient to equip between 30 and 40 classrooms with a cart full of technology.
In looking to the future, however, district technology director Brad Schrecengost said moving away from the cart model is the best way to ensure all students have equal access to Chromebooks.
“Essentially, we’re moving from a situation where we have pockets of technology, where some teachers and students have access, to one where everyone has access,” Superintendent Gennaro Piraino said. “It’s a tool that enhances learning, and this would expand that to all environments.”
The initial cost would be about $87,000.
“We originally purchased 90 Chromebooks for the pilot. Those are over 5 years old now, and we’d want to get rid of that older inventory before we start a one-to-one initiative,” Schrecengost said.
Graduating seniors would have an opportunity to buy their used Chromebooks for “a nominal fee, or they can choose to give it back to us,” Schrecengost said.
Incoming freshmen would receive new Chromebooks, at an annual cost of about $110,000, according to Schrecengost.
With school board approval, staff would spend March and April developing policies and an insurance program — students would be required to purchase insurance in case they damage their Chromebooks — before sending out information to parents and meeting with them in May and June.
The board will vote on moving forward with the project and exploring pricing at its Monday meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. in the Murrysville municipal building, 4100 Sardis Road.
Piraino said he looks forward to the initiative.
“It democratizes the use of technology across the board,” he said.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .