SOUTHINGTON — In the coming weeks, the school district will start a pilot program allowing a freshman and middle school class to take home a Chromebook laptop.
“We’re trying to do it right away,” said Karen Veilleux, the director of technology for the school system. “It’s going to be a mini pilot because of the limited days of school left.”
Veilleux made a presentation on the program to the Board of Education at a meeting last week.
Southington has about 100 Chromebooks purchased with a state grant that will be given to the freshman and a class at Kennedy Middle School.
“These students would take home and use it as a resource,” Veilleux said.
School board members made some suggestions for future technology initiatives. Southington currently allows students to bring their own devices to school.
Board member Terry Lombardi said it may be appropriate for students to use their own devices in some classes, but have school-issued computers for other courses.
Board member Patricia Queen said some subject areas may require more technology use than others.
“Certain devices are more appropriate than others,” Queen said.
Earlier this year, Cheshire seventh and eighth grade students all received ChromeBooks as part of a $200,000 grant from the state.
Cheshire School Superintendent Greg Florio said the hope is to eventually expand the program and have students take the devices into high school.
“I visited a number of times and am quite impressed with how many classes are using them. Regardless of the subject, the Chromeboooks are out,” Florio said. “…I think it’s starting to help change instruction.”
A survey will be sent out to every student in grades six to 11 in Southington about their use of technology and what access they have to technology outside of school. This will help the district understand if there is a need to have more technology available for students, Veilleux said.
Veilleux said a technology committee has been working on “a long term plan that will level the playing field and really help us with purchases, curriculum, and professional development, by planning our needs out into the future.”