A new program aims to pair a Chromebook computer or touchscreen device to every Carthage ISD student and teacher.

School board members kicked off the districtwide initiative at their Monday meeting, approving the purchase Chromebooks from CDWG for $206,130.

Superintendent John Wink said the 1 to 1 technology model is where a lot of the schools are headed.

“Our goal is to have a device with every student,” Wink said. “There’s so much functionality that the Chromebooks offer for students in high school, which we need those for our college readiness courses, but also all the way down to kindergarten and first grade, where they’re touchscreen Chromebooks that students can use.”

The district already uses iPads at various grade levels in classroom instruction, but the new program would eventually replace those with Chromebooks and touchscreen devices appropriate for each student’s age. Wink said the plan was to buy a fourth of the student and teacher population’s worth of Chromebooks each year for four years. After that, they would replace Chromebooks every four years.

Funding would come out of bond monies set aside for technology.

Teachers will also be required to become certified through a Google program, learning how to integrate the Chromebook into their lesson plans, before being given the devices.

“This is where education is moving forward,” Wink said. “It’s building a lot of capacity in instruction and it’s going to be something that is going to be very beneficial in helping us reach our academic goals. So this isn’t just a technology goal; it’s going to really transform instruction that (new Chief Learning Officer Allen Koch) is charged with undertaking.”

Phone Upgrades

In addition to buying Chromebooks, school board members voted to buy a VoIP phone system from IP Convergence for $88,750 at their Monday meeting.

The new phone system would make it easy to have a staff member’s phone travel with them should they move offices or desks, Wink said. The system also makes it easy to broadcast emergency alerts throughout the district.