CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — It was something no one ever imagined. No face-to-face education. Forcing all students across the state to go digital.
But what happens if your students don't have computers? What happens if they have one laptop for a family of five?
Clayton County hopes to solve that problem for the next school year so that all of its students will be more prepared and better suited for learning with new technology.
The Clayton County Board of Education unanimously voted earlier this week to approve a proposal to accelerate the district’s Extending Learning Beyond the Classroom initiative for the 2020-2021 school year.
The program’s acceleration will allow the district to lease 38,000 new Chromebooks for students in 3rd through 12th grades, a nearly $37 million investment over five years, the district said.
“Although very few individuals could have foreseen the impact of the Coronavirus, we are thankful that through this global phenomenon, we are afforded the opportunity to address access shortfalls in our device availability for our students moving forward,” said Superintendent Morcease Beasley.
The district says the initiative, coupled with recently approved Digital Learning grant funding from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), federal funds provided via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, support from the local government, nonprofits and community partners will assist Clayton County Public Schools in closing the digital gap for all students.
The district says each device will be equipped with Chromebook Management software, asset tracking software, CIPA Compliant Content Filtering software (cloud-based web filter), technical support access, and device cases.
They say they currently have around 40,000 students in grades 3-12, but plan to use their current inventory to assign all K-2 teachers with a Chromebook cart for students. They will be assigned to students for regular in-class use and can be sent home with students to access school work via the Google Classroom solution.
As CCPS works to secure the devices for the 2020-2021 school year, the school system says it will focus additional funds from external organizations toward acquiring Wi-Fi devices for students without internet access, they said.
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