Come January, each high school student in Culpeper County will have access to a Chromebook 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Culpeper County Public School’s 1:1 Chromebook Initiative was the primary topic of discussion at the Culpeper County School Board’s work session Oct. 22.
The goal is for students at Culpeper County High School and Eastern View High School to receive Chromebooks that they will be able to take home with them provided by the schools.
Donovan O’Brien, curriculum specialist with CCPS, and network engineer Maria Weiss laid out for the school board the number of Chromebooks needed and the expected policies for the students.
The school division’s instructional resource teachers are working through 2,500 Chromebooks and expect to have 867 prepared by the end of the week. They expect to distribute the Chromebooks Jan. 3 to CCHS students and Jan. 4 to EVHS. A media blitz - including a press release, information on the website and flyers distributed to students - will begin Nov. 16.
A series of obstacles needed to be addressed before finalizing the project, including discussion of repair costs and whether or not to charge a “technology fee” to students to help generate revenue to purchase more Chromebooks. Each Chromebook’s full replacement fee is $279 with a set list of repair costs provided by the school to parents and students for items such as cracked cases, screens and more. O’Brien explained that the manufacturer warranty will cover the first “oops” but after that students will be charged for repairs - just as they would if they damaged a textbook.
They also discussed if they should include bags or cases, but the school board reached a consensus that students will likely purchase their own and they will be keeping them in their book bags to begin with.
Each student will receive a student usage agreement, that covers all the legal agreements that the student and CCPS will agree to. That includes a paragraph that reads: “if loss or damage occurs, students and their parent or guardian agree to any applicable charges outlined the repair cost list. The charges are intended to promote good habits and responsible handling of CCPS-issued devices. Devices reported as stolen outside of school require that parents notify police and send an official police report to their school administration.”
Another topic discussed was whether or not to allow students to keep the Chromebooks during the summer, with consensus among the school board agreeing to allow them to keep them as they may have summer projects, and it reduces the workload for the school ITRTs. They will collect the Chromebooks from graduating seniors during the graduation checklist period.
“Staff has vetted every possible scenario,” CCPS superintendent Tony Brads said.
The school board reached a consensus to not charge a fee for the chromebooks at this time as it was unsettled if they could charge a technology fee at this time.
“This is a major initiative, and the devil is in the details,” Brads said.