Perry Hill students enjoying 1-to-1 benefits
Sharing is no longer needed among Perry Hill School students — when it comes to Chromebooks.
Principal Lorraine Williams, joined by teachers and staff, held a special assembly Tuesday, Jan. 7, at which all fifth and sixth graders were each given a Chromebook to use in school and take home. This is part of the district’s 1-to-1 program — one Chromebook per child. Before, students had to share.
“I’m excited to be able to take the computer home every day,” said student Andrew Aiello. “I can do my work during the day and not have to stop to share it. I can do my homework on it now. It is going to be a lot easier to get my work done.”
“Now I don’t have to share with my brother,” added student Murphy Riddle, whose older brother also has a Chromebook for home use. “This is great.”
School administrators have long pushed for this 1-to-1 program. In October, the Board of Aldermen, Board of Education, the mayor’s office and school officials joined forces to purchase 800 Chromebooks for the district’s fifth through eighth graders at a cost of $258,000 — $158,000 paid by the city, $100,000 by the Board of Education.
“The collaboration between the Board of Aldermen — with key support of Mayor Mark Lauretti — and the Board of Education was excellent,” said school Superintendent Chris Clouet. “I appreciate their commitment. We look forward to strengthening our partnership.
“The students, their parents and the teachers are energized by the addition of Chromebooks for every student in grades five to eight. This initiative, a part of our technology plan, puts powerful learning tools into the hands of our students,” added Clouet.
There were two assemblies — one for fifth, another for sixth grade. Each assembly featured a video on being a “good digital citizen” and proper maintenance of the Chromebook. After each grade was presented with their Chromebook, Assistant Principal Karen Crosby led students in a pledge.
“It was pep rally-ish,” said Williams. “This was a long time coming. The city, Board of Ed, everyone really worked together to make this happen. We’ve been talking about this for years, and we’re thrilled it has finally happened.”
The 1-to-1 program allows teachers to monitor students’ work in real time. Teachers can give assignments through Google Classroom and monitor students’ site visits through the GoGuardian software.
With the district moving away from textbooks, the Chromebooks allow students to access to all online lessons and various educational resources. The Chromebooks also have all the updated testing software.
“It is important to know this is not replacing pen to paper,” said Williams. “We have a balance. There are group discussions … it’s not just kids on Chromebooks all day. There are discussions … teachers and students interacting.”
Crosby said the Chromebooks are used only part of day, and this was emphasized to parents in a special meeting on Monday, Jan. 6, at the school. Parents were told about the GoGuardian software, which will aid in monitoring the sites students visit online, and the school day will not just be dominated by computer use.
Clouet said the parent meeting on the details of the 1-to-1 program was well done. He said a full house listened to teachers discuss how the Chromebooks will be used, and many had pertinent questions, as well.
While staff and parents are pleased with the new 1-to-1 program, it is the students that will see the most significant benefit, according to Williams.
“It is already easier to do work,” said student Ava Pacacha. “We had to share all the time, and it was tougher to get work done. Now we can get everything done easier. It feels great having (the Chromebook).”