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Plum/Oakmont

All Plum High School students may get new chromebooks the upcoming school year

Michael DiVittorio
| Thursday, July 12, 2018, 5:42 p.m.

Plum High School students may receive new chromebooks this coming school year.

Administrators outlined a plan to spend approximately $83,000 in the technology budget on a 3-year lease for 1,225 devices.

“We want to be sure that every one of our children are exceptionally prepared for a career, for college or for service when they leave here,” assistant Superintendent Gail Yamnitzky said. “We’re also in a position right now in where our current technology is either outdated, unreliable or obsolete and it would come at a great cost for us to replace any of that.”

Principal Justin Stephans said his school had 20 laptop carts in 2017-18 and will enter next school year with only three carts due to various computer issues.

“Our current hardware status is a mess with laptops and carts and labs,” he said. “This will help solve that issue.”

A student survey indicated the children pay more attention while using technology, and feel their teachers use a good balance of technology and paper and pencil materials in class, according to the presentation.

“We know that with the right tools (our children’s learning) will be enhanced or extended, and also provide new opportunities for us in the future,” Yamnitzky said.

Board Member Angela Anderson expressed concerns about cyber bullying and internet access with the devices.

District Director of Educational Technology Chris Burkey said the chromebooks would have internet filters and other security measures in place.

The board is expected to vote on the purchase at its July 24 meeting.

The chromebooks are not expected to be ready for distribution by the first day of school on Aug. 23.

The plan is to have them ready for high schoolers by the end of September.

The district pays approximately $155,000 annually to provide iPads for all sixth through eighth graders.

Approximately 1,040 iPads are under lease for the 2018-19 school year and 320 leased through 2019-20.

Burkey also announced the district plans to seek grant funding for a mass emergency notification system. Messages would be delivered to all the devices when an emergency occurs.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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