Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Genesee Schools Chosen for 1:1 Intiative for Laptop Devices


BOISE – Thirty school districts and two charter schools across Idaho will be the first to achieve 1:1 ratios of laptop devices to students and teachers in the next two years, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced today. 

The 1:1 initiative is a part of the bold Students Come First laws, which are comprehensively changing Idaho’s education system to ensure every student graduates from high school prepared to go on to postsecondary education or the workforce without the need for remediation.

Five of the school districts and one charter school selected to deploy 1:1 devices for high school students in the first round, beginning in Fall 2013, are in north central Idaho. Cottonwood School District, Culdesac School District, Genesee School District, Highland School District, Idaho Distance Education Academy, and Lewiston School District have all been selected. 

“This is an exciting day for schools all across Idaho,” Supt.Luna said. “Reaching a one-to-one ratio of students and teachers to laptop devices in every public high school is just one part of the Students Come First laws. Idaho schools now join thousands of schools across the United States in creating 21st century classrooms where learning opportunities are limitless and will provide equal access to the best educational opportunities for every student – no matter where they live.” 

Students Come First puts the programs and policies in place necessary to create the 21st century classroom in every Idaho classroom, to provide equal access to the best opportunities for every Idaho student no matter where they live, and to recruit and retain highly effective teachers in the profession.  

Some of these programs include achieving a 1:1 ratio of students and teachers to laptop devices in every high school, improving teacher pay with $40 million in new funding for pay-for-performance, supporting classroom teachers with $4 million a year in ongoing funding for professional development, and paying for high school students to take up to 36 dual credits before graduation.  

Idaho will begin phasing in the 1:1 initiative for public high schools in Fall 2012 by deploying devices to high school teachers and principals first. They will receive devices along with a year of intensive professional development. The devices will then be deployed to students over the following three years. In Fall 2013, the state will deploy devices to the first round of high schools representing one-third of high school students. The state will continue to deploy devices to high schools over the next two years until a 1:1 ratio is reached in all grades 9-12. All high schools will eventually reach a 1:1 ratio. 

“A year ago, Highland School District was a small, rural school with basic technology tools. Within one year, through Students Come First and the different technology grants, we have been able to bring Highland into the 21st century and provide our students the tools they need to meet their educational goals.  Being chosen to be one of the schools in the first third of the 1:1 deployment continues that effort to provide our students similar opportunities provided in larger school districts,” said Cindy Orr, Superintendent and Elementary Principal of the Highland Joint School District. 

Because more than 170 high schools representing 84 percent of Idaho’s high school students wanted to participate in the first round of deployment, the state developed a competitive application process to determine the schools and districts that were most ready to benefit. A committee made up of educators in Idaho and staff at the State Department of Education conducted a “blind” review of the applications throughout May where the reviewers did not know which schools or districts they were rating. The selections were determined by point rankings on the application by region to ensure school districts in every region of the state would participate in the first deployment. 

“The Genesee School District is excited to be one of the first districts to receive the 1:1 laptop devices. We believe this initiative will help bring greater educational opportunities for our students and help raise academic achievement. We are very grateful for this opportunity to invest in our future....our students,” said Wendy Moore, Superintendent of the Genesee School District.