Every elementary school student in Bullitt County Public Schools will be assigned a Dell Model 3100 Chromebook starting with the 2020-2021 school year.
The Bullitt County Board of Education unanimously approved the action during its May 11th work session.
A total of 2,920 Chromebooks will be leased for students in third through fifth grades. Each pupil will be assigned a Chromebook after parents pay an annual usage fee of $35.
According to District Network Engineer Andrew Hobbs, the district currently has a Master Lease with Insight Financial Services, LLC to provide Chromebooks for students in grades 6-12 who are also assigned the Dell Model 3100.
“This newly approved lease is now part of the master agreement,” he said adding students in grades Kindergarten through second will be assigned a Dell touchscreen version of the model 3100.
Hobbs explained various funding sources are available to use for these purchases from the state.
“The Kentucky Department of Education has made money from the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act available to the districts in the state along with Capital Funds,” he said. “Around $600,000 will be used to purchase devices.”
The board decision came after the district was required to implement 36 days of Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) amid the coronavirus pandemic.
All schools were closed March 16 upon Gov. Andy Beshear’s recommendation. No facilities were allowed to reopen and local schools concluded remote learning May 11th.
However, elementary age student parents had to pick up and drop off weekly assignment packets. The district transportation department organized many packet drop offs and deliveries.
In anticipation of school reconvening in the fall, the district’s student learning and technology departments went to work with the federal and state financial assistance which allowed the purchase of devices for elementary school students.
In addition, the Board of Education unanimously approved an NTI request for the 2020-2021 school year. Only 10 NTI days are allowable unless otherwise granted by Gov. Beshear or the state legislature, but those days will allow remote learning in case schools again close due to a resurgence in the pandemic or for inclement weather days.
Hobbs said devices will be delivered to each elementary based on enrollment sometime in the late summer.
“After completing our fourth year of Access 24 at the middle and high schools, we have streamlined the process of distributing and assigning the devices to our students,” he noted. “We will provide the same guidance we give our middle and high schools so this initiative will be just as successful.”
Hobbs assured administrators and educators that the department, “Will be right there to help in any way we can” and will learn from monitoring elementary schools during the upcoming school year.
“We are constantly adjusting our procedures and techniques based on feedback we receive,” he said. “We will continue to accept input from all our stakeholders to make their experience the best it can be.”
With 13,000 students, Bullitt County is the seventh largest school system in Kentucky. Hobbs said there are a few other districts in the state that are about the same size and have a 1:1 program K-12.
“Each district has its own unique challenges that have to be met for the program to be successful,” he said. “Here in Bullitt County, we are very fortunate to have an extremely talented technology department. They make sure our students have the infrastructure that is needed to support this initiative.”
Another highly talented part of the District team are Digital Learning Coaches that support teachers and students each day with technology integration with instruction.
“They design new and exciting ways to integrate the technology into the classrooms and beyond,” Hobbs said.