This year, the Castleford School District has used its own resources to move ahead of the state and other school districts in implementing a 1:1 learning environment in its high school. While the state is creating a 1:1 ratio of teachers and students to computers in every high school within the next four years, Castleford decided to do it now! It used a mix of local and federal resources to accomplish this. Other state funding for classroom technology and professional development were used in other areas of the school district.
Superintendent Andy Wiseman shares their story of how they accomplished this, why they decided to do it early, and what results they are already seeing:
The Castleford School District launched our one-to-one iPads for all 9th-12th grade students on September 4, 2012. The decision was based upon the ideas gathered when a committee comprised of trustees, teachers, paraprofessionals, tech staff and administrators traveled to Canby, Oregon last March. The main point of this initiative was that we felt we could increase student engagement—which really will lead to more academic learning.
The plan was made to provide all K-12 teachers with a new MacBook Air laptop, and all secondary teachers with an iPad in June so that they could become familiar with the new tools prior to the beginning of the school year. Additionally, the plan included this year’s textbooks (science) in the high school to be provided digitally on the student iPad. The district committed to providing training via Apple in the summer, and additional help for the science teachers. Our elementary staff also sought grants, used classroom fundraisers, and donations to add about 60 iPad s and iPods in classrooms for the elementary.
The school district used funds from the supplemental levy passed in May along with the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) federal grant to enter into a three-year lease with Apple (about $26,500.00) to obtain the new teacher laptops and the iPads. The funds that we eventually will receive from Students Come First will be applied to our lease since we will already meet the one-to-one requirement. In addition, the district received a $5,000 grant from the Idaho Leads Project for professional development activities related to the integration of this new technology.
We have already learned a lot. The personnel at the Idaho Education Network and contractor Education Networks of America (specifically Brady Kraft and Mike Vance) have been very helpful, and are providing help with our increased bandwidth requirements, and our local WAN. However, just three weeks into the process is seems to be successful in increasing student engagement because of a willing positive staff, great students, understanding parents.