By Cierra Pryor
The Williamston Post
WILLIAMSTON – The Williamston Community Schools district believes investments in technology is an efficient way to improve student outcomes.
“We believe that the basic goal of education is to prepare our students for lifelong learning, and success in a changing world,” said Jeff Cassin, the director of technology for the district. “The technology does not replace the teacher but rather supports and enhances the educational process.”
Williamston Community schools has set a goal to seamlessly integrate technology in all classrooms and are now working towards full integration.
“Our initial goal is to purchase a set of mobile devices for each grade level at our elementary schools,” said Cassin. “Also a classroom set of mobile devices per core content area for each grade level at the middle school and high school.”
For the lower elementary grades (K-2); plans are to purchase iPads for use in the classroom. For grades 3 and above plans are to purchase Chromebook devices. In addition, the district commits to maintaining the existing desktop computers in the classrooms and computer labs.
To help the district fundraise, the Williamston Schools foundation hosted its 2nd annual lasagna dinner on Friday, Feb. 19. All proceeds supported technology for kids in the school district.
“We raised somewhere around $2,000 from lasagna dinners,” said Amanda Fratarelli, director of the Williamston Schools foundation. “All of our fundraising efforts for this year and last year have been dedicated towards technology.”
Proceeds from the raffle on the same evening as the dinner grossed over $12,000. Those funds will help pay for the mobile carts of Chromebooks for every school. So far, three mobile carts of 30 Chromebooks each have been purchased along with iPads for kindergartners and first graders.
“The computers are very much needed to enhance research and educational opportunities in the classroom,” said Fratarelli. “But also to take the new M-Step test online.”
The test online is a new state requirement, and there is no state funding for the purchase of computers or the enhancing of the network capacity.
The total cost for the mobile devices is approximately $325,000. The district is phasing these in over several years as funds become available. They started the process about two years ago and have acquired about a third of the devices that are part of this plan.
To continue help raise funds the foundation will host its 34th annual golf outing on May 21 at the Brookshire Inn and Golf Club.