Mission CISD to begin handing out Chromebooks to students in January

Mission CISD to begin handing out Chromebooks to students in January
Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 9:17am

Students at Mission Collegiate High School (MCHS) and freshmen at Mission High School (MHS), Veterans Memorial High School, and sixth graders at K. White Jr. High School. will receive brand new Chromebook computers in January. It is a part of the Mission CISD’s (Consolidated Independent School District) new 1 to 1 initiative that will provide a Chromebook to each high school freshmen, the sixth graders at K. White Jr. High School (KWJH), and replace a tablet given to MCHS freshmen last year.

District officials had hoped to begin the Chromebook initiative before Thanksgiving. However, there was a delay in receiving some of the needed wireless access equipment for the schools. Officials did not want to deploy the computers until the needed infrastructure was in place to handle the load.

Initially, the district planned to begin this program with just the high school freshmen, but expanded it to include the sixth graders at KWJH due to the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) approach being implemented there.

1 to 1 learning involves the use of a computer for each student and teacher to help engage the digital generation, while fostering an individual learning experience that is differentiated for the student. 1 to 1 learning initiatives can also enhance collaboration, continuous learning, creativity, and allow for faster feedback.

“Mission CISD has been looking into and testing several tablet and computer options the last couple of years,” said Ricardo López, superintendent. We don’t want to succumb to Shiny Object Syndrome and jump into something that will not be a good instructional fit for us. They must improve instruction; otherwise it is a waste of our resources.”

Lopez also said the district has been carefully watching other districts in the state that have implemented various technologies with the hopes of learning about issues those districts encountered as they introduced their various 1 to 1 initiatives.

District officials indicated the Chromebooks allow for a centralized deployment and configuration. They also come with free web-based email, calendar, documents and cloud storage. The Chromebooks also allow for CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) compliance no matter where the student accesses the Internet. Regardless of where the students access the Internet, the computers will point back to the Internet through the district’s network and filtering first. The computers are also set so only the district’s student Google accounts can be accessed.

After this initial deployment of Chromebooks this school year, Mission CISD officials plan to provide the computers to every incoming freshmen class thereafter. The students will keep their Chromebooks throughout high school, unless they leave the school district.
A total of $462,150 was budgeted for the purchase of the Chromebooks this school year. The district has ordered 1,843 Chromebooks for students and staff who will need them. The remaining part of the order is expected to be received over the next couple of weeks.
The deployment schedule for the Chromebooks is being finalized, based upon the arrival of the entire computer order and final access point installations. Officials plan to have them all in student hands by the end of January.

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