Students in the Tahoma School District starting from grades 6 through 12 could be looking at getting their own Chromebook computers soon.
Over the past several months, the Tahoma School District started toying with the idea of giving students their own Chromebook computers to keep year-round, Kevin Patterson, the director of communications for the school district, said. The instructional technology staff looked at future needs for the students, and that’s where the idea came from, Patterson said.
In the district’s technology plan, they had outlined certain needs that would like to have been met, getting the computers would be meeting those needs. The technology plan was the basis for the technology levy that voters approved in 2014. That levy expires at the end of 2018 so these computers would be part of the next technology levy which would be in February 2018.
If the technology passes, the one-to-one student computer plan would start in the 2018-2019 school year.
For several years, the school district has surveyed students and learned that about 30 percent do not have regular access to computers outside of school, Patterson said. More school work requires computer access, so it is hard for a student to complete their work outside of school if they do not have access to a computer.
“We think it is in the students’ best interest to have their own computer,” Patterson said.
This program would be possible because it would actually cost less to provide Chromebooks than providing sets of classroom computers for all students.
Chromebooks usually have a lifespan of four years, so a student would get a new Chromebook after four years. Students would get to keep their computers year-round, even during breaks and summer vacation.
Without the technology levy, this program would not be able to happen.
“We don’t have another reliable source of income for technology other than levies,” Patterson said. “It is doubtful that the program would be possible without the community’s support.”
With technology advancing regularly, school districts like Tahoma want to keep up with the changes and make sure that students do as well.