District stays at forefront of student, parent digital needs
The Carson City School District prepared approximately 8,500 Chromebooks for its campuses to assign and distribute to students this week in preparation for the start of school Monday.
Raymond Medeiros, director of innovation and technology, said Monday this week that the new laptops are part of a 1-to-1 student-to-device program that’s been in place since 2012. The computers were easily adapted for distance learning use after schools were closed in March after the announcement of the pandemic to ensure all students had reliable, sustainable Internet access and could continue learning from home.
“The most important point of this equipment is to enhance student learning, to provide them with learning opportunities they otherwise would not have to get them comfortable with technology,” Medeiros said, demonstrating tables of Chromebooks in the Carson High School library.
District staff members have vetted the computers to make sure certain programs are available for teachers’ needs, and should they require anything beyond the standard applications for special projects for students throughout the year, Medeiros said staff members take appropriate actions to make sure those apps or websites are safe for use before deployment.
“In business and industry today, technology is embedded in pretty much everything, and so the better we can prepare our students by getting them literate in the use of technology, them being comfortable in the use of it, the better off they will be applying for those types of jobs so they’ll be more comfortable in the job market of today and tomorrow.”
Maintenance and security also are handled through a school’s library media center with a specialist if a laptop becomes damaged, he said.
“The library media specialist will do triage work,” he said. “They are the first line of defense for us to resolve the issue. If it’s more of a technical issue rather than a password reset or they have to resolve a break or if it was damaged in negligence, they will go to a help desk.”
The student receives a loaner computer so they’re never without while their original computer is being repaired and learning isn’t interrupted, he added.
Medeiros also said the district would be using a new communication tool called ParentSquare that allows teachers and parents to stay connected through e-mail, text and apps about a student’s progress.
“Communications have been good, but there’s always room for improvement,” Medeiros said. “We’ve identified some gaps when schools closed, became extreme no longer an options, we had to fill some of those gaps, so we put ParentSquare in place.”
The consolidation from a number of other programs teachers at the different Carson City schools were using, such as ClassDojo, Seesaw or bloomz, to ParentSquare, will create efficiency, he added, and it offers other benefits such as allowing families to communicate in their preferred language, comment on school postings, sign up for parent-teacher conferences and sign forms or permission slips and more.
More information on ParentSquare is available on http://www.carsoncityschools.com under the “Parents” tab and by selecting “ParentSquare.”