|4/24/2014 2:28:00 PM|
Chisago Lakes Middle School implementing BYOD for next year's eighth graders
Less than two weeks after holding an informational meeting on the potential of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) coming to the Chisago Lakes Middle School, the plan was approved by the Chisago Lakes School Board on Thursday, April 17. The program applies to incoming eighth graders, who will have to bring their own electronic device such as a Chromebook, laptop, or tablet such as an iPad or Kindle Fire.
Middle School Principal Jodi Otte said that the district is working with vendors for a website for parents to purchase Chromebooks. She figures there will be $50-75 in supplies that will be replaced by the $250 Chromebook. There also would be no need for graphing calculators and the students could opt to read their text books on the device. Chromebooks retail at $250 each, and the school would work with parents on a $50 payment plan, or for free and reduced lunch students, there would be a rental plan of $50 per month for the device. “The curriculum isn’t changing,” Otte said. “Just the way we present it.” A concerned parent commented at the meeting a student she knew recently viewed pornography at school, and she was worried about the security of all the children having their own devices at school. Network Administrator Mike Klun said that as long as the students were following the rules of the BYOD program, that won’t happen.
“Nothing is 100 percent, but we are very diligent in monitoring the children,” Otte said. The parent was worried about WiFi “hot spots” that can be activated by devices with their own data plan. In the BYOD usage agreement, activating a hot spot will be in violation of the rules. “I’m very concerned about children viewing pornography,” Board Chairman Mark Leigh said. “I think we need to take the hot spot issue very seriously and I’d like to see severe penalties for it.” Board member Lori Berg said, “There is going to be bumps, but we have to engage the kids and just try to be smart about educating them.” The board approved the program, starting for next year’s eighth graders.
The next steps, according to Otte, are to create a BYOD team, select the appropriate curriculum and determine the needs for individual devices and order them and also to determine the needs and education level of the teachers. She said there may be tech workshops for students, parents and teachers. “We have not finalized what they can buy through us,” she said. “This decision will be made in the next week or so. From there every parent will receive a letter from us, the letter will contain program information and device purchase/payment plan information.” As for devices being lost, stolen or broken, Otte said that when the device is their own, kids tend to take better care of if it than the schools equipment. She also mentioned that there will be insurance available from the manufacturer when buying the device.
The graduation date for the class of 2015 is changing. Previously, senior’s last day of school and graduation ceremony were Friday, May 29. The board pushed that back so the last day for seniors and graduation date will be Tuesday, June 2, 2015. The school is starting a remembrance walk program that will pave the area to the left of the Performance Arts Center at the high school. The bricks can be purchased by anyone and engraved with memorials, remembrances, tributes to classmates and other things. The bricks would cost $60 or $50 for two and all the proceeds would go to the Chisago Lakes Schools Endowment Foundation. For more information, people can go to www.chisagolakes.k12.mn.us or call the high school at 651-213-2500. Taylors Falls Elementary is checking into possibly doing a split classroom of 12 fourth graders and 12 fifth graders.
Right now, the sections are going to be in the low 30s, so TF Principal Jason Riebe is looking at ways to alleviate class crowding. They are checking on similar situations at other schools, but if they do the split classroom, it would have to be done over a two-year cycle. Other challenges facing the district enrollment include closing open enrollment for fourth grade at Lakeside Elementary. Principal Sara Johnson said they are just running out of room there, and they may already be looking at portable classrooms for a few years. The grade level can still take 12 more students, but if they get that, they’ll have 32 students per classroom, and they’d close open enrollment.