We will begin the collection of 1:1 student netbook devices on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. This letter will provide you with the rationale behind this decision and an overview of the collection process.
Dana Middle School was an initial member of the 1:1 student netbook pilot program which began over seven years ago. The initial purpose of the program was to explore the educational impact of providing each child with a district-issued netbook. Each child also received a wireless data plan at no cost to the family in an attempt to close the digital divide between families.
The 1:1 student netbook program was responsible for a variety of positive changes to the instructional program at Dana. Teachers were free to focus their time and energy on developing online curriculum because every child was guaranteed access to the content created. Students were exposed to a variety of online tools and were able to access and share information in ways not possible before. The digital divide that exists between families was closed as every child had access to online content at home.
Unfortunately the 1:1 program included pitfalls. Our staff spent additional time supporting students with lost and misplaced devices. While vandalism decreased, we experienced an increase in damage due to accidents and increased usage of devices. We also noticed a segment of the population became highly distracted by continual access to digital tools. These distractions were observed both in the classroom and on the playground where some students began to isolate themselves from their peers as they became absorbed in their digital world. These trends disturbed us.
Starting a few years ago, the San Diego Unified School District made the decision to no longer provide internet access to families at home. This decision impacted our goal of closing the digital divide. In 2017 the San Diego Unified School District made the decision to no longer support the 1:1 program or promote its expansion. Existing pilot schools were expected to redirect site funds to support the program. In 2018 Dana Middle learned it was one of fourteen schools in SDUSD scheduled to lose Title 1 funding for the 2018-19 school year.
These facts led to our decision to end our participation in the 1:1 netbook pilot program.
Our staff has begun the process of preparing for the 2017-18 standardized testing cycle. Standardized testing occurs in April and May and is conducted online. As we ramp up for testing, we have been evaluating the state of our student laptop devices. The operating systems, software, and hardware need to be in updated and in working condition before we can enter the testing cycle.
We have decided to collect the 1:1 LOGO devices prior to the standardized testing window to preserve the devices we have and to prepare them for the testing cycle. The netbooks will not be redistributed to students after the testing cycle is complete. We will begin to collect the devices from the students starting March 21st and hope to collect the majority of the netbooks before Spring Break. Collection will take place through Language Arts classrooms. A collection schedule will be distributed to teachers.
The netbooks will be placed in carts and distributed to core subject-area classrooms similar to the model found in the other eight schools in the Point Loma cluster. Teachers will continue to utilize digital tools to support the instruction taking place in their classrooms. Students will continue to have access to online content from home using their own personal computers and devices. We are putting together information regarding alternative resources for accessing online content as needed. We will provide training to help teachers effectively manage the computers in their classrooms.
We thank you for your patience and support. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you have about the 1:1 program.