The St. Clair R-XIII School District has scheduled four meetings within the next three weeks to educate parents on the one-to-one technology initiative being implemented during the second semester of the academic year.
Topics that will be covered include Chromebook expectations, usage and accidental damage fees, a Google Chrome overview and device connectivity outside the school day.
Chromebooks are the devices that will be distributed to 1,400 students in the middle and high school in January as the blended learning environment in the classroom unfolds.
“It will be stressed that the device belongs to the district and not the student,” Superintendent Mike Murphy told R-XIII board of education members on Thursday during their November meeting.
The R-XIII board approved a Chromebook policy during its meeting on Thursday.
Meetings scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19, and Wednesday, Nov. 20, in the St. Clair Junior High School gymnasium separate parents of sixth- through eighth-graders and parents of ninth- through 12th-graders, respectively.
At 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 25, a third meeting is scheduled for all parents of sixth- through 12th-graders in the high school auditorium. The fourth meeting, again for all parents, has been set for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, in the SCJHS gym.
Murphy said it is mandatory for parents to attend one of the meetings.
During the sessions, parents will be given the opportunity to reserve a Chromebook for their children and pay the usage fee.
The Chromebooks are scheduled to be distributed to students the week of Jan. 6.
Murphy said phone blasts will be sent to parents and R-XIII personnel over the weekend reminding everyone about the meetings.
The district’s Chromebook policy first was brought to the board for review in September.
The policy is needed as the district nears the implementation of its one-to-one technology initiative approved earlier this year. The board approved spending almost $500,000 to purchase Chromebooks for junior and senior high school students as well as faculty and administrators to use in the education initiative.
Every student will have the opportunity to receive a Chromebook and will be able to take it with him or her at the end of the school day.
Murphy told board of education members earlier this year that the policy is a compilation of what several other school districts have implemented.
The majority of earlier discussions on the policy centered on usage fees/insurance for the computers.
“St. Clair School District requires that a Chromebook usage fee be purchased prior to deployment of the Chromebook to your child,” the policy reads. “The annual fee will be $20 per device and must be paid during student registration or mandatory parent meetings.”
The policy goes on to state that a sliding scale has been developed for families that have multiple children in the district.
It also states that if the usage fee can’t be paid, children will be allowed to check out a Chromebook daily during the school day only.
In the adopted policy, the “usage fee” term replaced “insurance” in the draft edition.
“It is an insurance policy,” Murphy told board members about the $20 annual fee. “We just rethought the terminology.
“The parent must provide the $20 for the student to get a Chromebook.”
Murphy also said the computers will be individually numbered in an effort to keep track of them. They also will have laser printing stating they are the property of the St. Clair school district.
The policy goes on to talk about care and usage of the computers.
In addition, the policy discusses damage claims.
“Each claim will be assessed a deductible within the current school year to be paid for by the student,” it reads, adding that the first claim/deductible will be up to $50 with the second claim/deductible increasing to $100.
The third claim/deductible will be $280, which is about the cost of the Chromebook.
A replacement AC adapter and power cord will cost $15, a battery will run $98, the protection case costs $20 and screen replacement will run $50.
There also are guidelines for acceptable uses of technology.
Teachers and administrators already are using new domain-based emails associated with the one-to-one learning initiative. As part of the initiative, teachers and students will use email more frequently to communicate and assist with the learning process. Since the program is Google based, gmail accounts will be used.
The new R-XIII domain is “stcmo.org.”
When students receive their email addresses, they will feature their graduating year followed by the first-name initial, full last name and the domain.