One-on-one Chromebooks for SCHS students to be delayed for several months

SCUSD is rolling out 15,000 Chromebooks to all sophomores and juniors in the district within the next three years. Though the original plan was to distribute the Chromebooks to sophomores and juniors in mid-September, Principal Gregory Shelby estimates that it will be several more months until SCHS gets the Chromebooks.

“We are fighting to get them as soon as possible,” Shelby said.

On May 11, the department chairs discussed having a one-on-one Chromebook plan for students district-wide. According to Shelby, the district is doing well financially due to new companies moving to the area, so they are deciding to use the funds to buy Chromebooks for students in an increasingly tech-dominated world.

“In this time and day, students rely a lot on technology for their schoolwork,” Shelby said, “and now students can have access to work on things regardless of their income levels.”

English teacher Carolyn Cmaylo, who has had experience with the one-to-one device program at the previous school she taught at, believes the Chromebooks will allow for more collaboration among students since they can share documents on Google Drive and work on them together.

“If everyone has access to Chromebooks, I can put learning material, links to videos, and whatnot online, knowing that everyone has access to them,” Cmaylo said.

The Chromebooks will be used by sophomores and juniors in order to prepare them for the  California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress test, which is a student assessment administered to juniors throughout the state towards the end of each school year. Freshmen and seniors will be using the Chromebook carts the school has currently.

“I think that the sophomores and juniors will benefit from them more since they [take] the most classes [that the Chromebooks] can be used in,” sophomore Sarah Heath said.

According to Shelby, the purpose of distributing Chromebooks to students is not only to use it as a replacement of pen and paper but also to allow students to use creativity in ways that were impossible before.

“The goal is to allow learning to happen in new and creative ways that we simply cannot achieve without this new technology,” Shelby said.

The date for when the Chromebooks will be delivered is not yet determined, but it should be during the end of the first semester. Sophomores and juniors were not able to get the Chromebooks at the beginning of the school year due to the processes of having the Chromebooks delivered and getting the amount the schools need, Shelby said. It takes about two months from when they are ordered to when they get in the hands of students. Shelby thinks it will allow time to train students on the best practices to use and protect the devices.

There are already teachers, such as English teacher Kate Flowers, who have been training with Chromebooks and technology in general. For several years, some teachers have been going to conferences to learn how to incorporate technology into their teaching. These teachers share their expertise with others during professional development days and idea groups on some Wednesday mornings, playing an integral role in helping the rest of the staff understand how to better use and teach with technology.

Many SCHS students, like sophomore Wendy Puente, are looking forward to having the opportunity to have their own Chromebooks. Puente believes they will make schoolwork a lot easier.

“We have the opportunity to get ahead of work since we will have access to it whenever we get the chance,” Puente said. “With this, lots of time is saved, and it’s less of a struggle to get work done.”

Students are not the only ones excited; many teachers are as well. Flowers, who has a class set of Chromebooks, believes that technology allows more research in classrooms due to access to a huge online catalog of resources. In addition, a greater degree of collaboration among students is made possible by the internet because projects can be shared online.

Flowers, however, warns of the possible risks of technology becoming a distraction in classrooms.

“It’s easy to get distracted by technology, so I incorporate a covers-down policy in my class,” Flowers said. “I don’t expect to have an iron grip on the class, but students should be doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”