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WJHS announces Chromebook initiative

Brady Thornton, principal at West Jessamine High School, recently announced WJHS 1:1 Initiative which will provide chromebooks to very student over the course of the next school year.
“We have heard a constant refrain from teachers, students, and parents that regular access to technology is a must have in today’s world of education,” Thornton said. “That technology does not replace quality classroom instruction and parent involvement, but it is an important resource to supplement those things. To that end, over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, WJHS will be providing chromebooks to every student. This will be a phased roll out with the goal of completion by January of 2020.”
The school has roughly 500 chromebooks in the building in classroom sets. Students have access in class, but they are not something they have in every class or they can take home, Thornton said. WJHS needs roughly 500 more chromebooks for its students. The school, Thornton said, recently made a purchase with left over funds for 275 chromebooks. Although, they still need a little over 300 more.
Next year, Thornton said each student will receive a new or used Chromebook during the Fall. Students will be able to use these devices in class and will be allowed to take them home on evenings and the weekend. Devices, Thornton said, will have a monitoring software so teachers can supervise students while on the devices for classroom work. Students will be asked to use these devices, as opposed to personal computers, during classroom time and instruction.
The WJHS instructional fee will increase $25 starting in the 2019-2020 school year to support this plan. The fee, which was $70, will now cost families $95. The advantage, Thornton said, is that a chromebook is about $200 and with the plan, students will pay $100 over four years for that device and when they graduate students can take the chromebooks with them. Chromebooks will still be collected during summer months and rereleased to the student in the fall.
“We want to make sure that we communicate well with parents so they do not come in and wonder why they are paying $25 more in august,” Thornton said.
Thornton also said new chromebooks will help with NTI days. When the school asked students and teachers what they need, the number one thing both groups said was access to technology resources.
“Does not replace traditional instruction, it is just another resource some classes will use more than others,” Thornton said. “We want to make sure that they can do work on computers not just use them to play on.”
Free and reduced lunch status will apply, and students will be able to keep the device upon graduation from WJHS.
“We appreciate your continued partnership and look forward to making the 1:1 Initiative a reality in this coming school year,” Thornton said. “As another reminder, it is very important that students get their online registration, OLR, completed as soon as possible. All returning students must complete OLR each year. This can be done by visiting the OLR link on the district webpage or through your Infinite Campus Parent Portal.”