San Diego Unified schools sending more than 13,000 computers home with students next year

Posted: Saturday, June 18th 2016

Technology in the classroom at Salk Elementary School in Mira Mesa
Technology in the classroom at Salk Elementary School in Mira Mesa.

Hosting the first of its occasional #FollowFriday Technology Days, School Board President Dr. Michael McQuary, and Trustees Kevin Beiser and Sharon Whitehurst-Payne joined San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten and Chief Innovation Officer Dan Stoneman to announce more than 13,000 students will get computers to take home for learning outside of school next fall. They made the announcement at Salk Elementary where the first class of kindergarteners completed their school year learning on computers at home and in the classroom.

“This is a game changer in terms of education technology in San Diego,” said Superintendent Marten. “We already give every one of our students access to his or her own computer in the classroom, but we don’t want children to have to stop learning and exploring when the school day ends. That is why our budget for this year includes funding for more than 13,000 computers for children to take home with them when the school day ends.”

More than 40 schools in communities across the San Diego Unified School District will begin giving children computers to take home with them in the fall. Funding for the program was announced by Superintendent Marten as part of the 2016-17 district budget released this week. The Board of Education is expected to approve the budget on June 28, 2016.

“We want the tech jobs of the future to be created in San Diego, and we want our students to be ready for those jobs,” Marten said. “This initiative is a major down payment on our promise to make our schools the technology leaders in the state of California and the nation.”

Chief Innovation Officer Dan Stoneman said the take home computer program is being expanded districtwide following a year-long pilot program at Salk and other schools. He said the success of the program was demonstrated in part by its remarkably low breakage and theft rate — less than one percent. To keep those rates low, and to guarantee the safety of children on the internet, he said San Diego Unified will continue to offer age-appropriate classes in digital citizenship for students, while providing cutting-edge filters to block access to potentially harmful sites.

“We will continue to provide appropriate training and safety supports to protect our students. However, we can say for certain that after a year-long pilot in the classroom, the overwhelming majority of our students behave in exactly the way we would hope. We are thrilled thousands more children across the district will have access to this opportunity in the fall,” Stoneman said.

Stoneman also added the district is working hard to assure internet access at home for all families through its national lobbying efforts and its partnership with local technology firms.

The event at Salk Elementary was the first of what the district said will be occasional #Follow Friday technology announcements. To stay connected on the district’s technology plans, follow these San Diego Unified leaders and the district for further announcements:

  • @BeKindDreamBig – Superintendent Cindy Marten
  • @StonemanDan – Chief Innovation Officer Dan Stoneman
  • @gottinger – Executive Director of Information Technology Greg Ottinger
  • @DrMcQuary – Board of Education President Dr. Michael McQuary
  • @KevinBeiser – Board of Education Trustee Kevin Beiser
  • @sdschools – San Diego Unified School District

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