The District 230 School Board approved the next phase of the S4 Digital Learning Program at its meeting Thursday night. Beginning in 2016-17, ninth and tenth grade students will receive a Chromebook laptop for use throughout their high school education and beyond. They will use the devices in class and take them home in order to extend learning beyond the walls of the schools.
“It's now time to take the next step to transform the way we teach students in a digital world,” said Superintendent Dr. James M. Gay. “District 230 has always prided itself on being cutting-edge in the way we prepare students for their future. Expansion of the Digital Learning Program is the next logical step.”
For the past four years, District 230 has been making strides towards providing a digital learning environment. Through a deliberate and phased approach, the technology foundation has been established to ensure success.
“Our curriculum and technology leaders have been methodical in rolling out the Digital Learning Program,” said School Board President Richard Nogal. “They have taken the steps necessary to assure all aspects of the program are strong. This planning will assure the continued success of our students in a rapidly changing, technological environment.”
Technology infrastructure is strong at each campus with wireless access points installed throughout the schools to provide the connectivity necessary.
Teacher preparation is robust with comprehensive, ongoing professional development and a team of trailblazing teachers who are ready to support their colleagues. Already 140 teachers at Sandburg, Stagg and Andrew High Schools are integrating devices into their classrooms. This team will now take the lead in sharing their work and supporting their colleagues as the program grows.
Implementation of digital resources to support the curriculum continues to grow. The Digital Learning Program currently reaches more than 75% of District 230 students in at least one class. However, those devices remain in the classroom limiting the impact beyond the walls of the school. The expansion will allow ninth and tenth grade students to keep the device and take it home.
A $75 annual technology payment, due when families pay the regular registration fee each summer, will support the Digital Learning Program. Upon graduation, the Chromebook will be the student's property.