Wheeling Township District 21 expanding laptop program
More and younger students in Wheeling Township Elementary District will have access to Chromebook computers next year under a measure passed unanimously by the district's board last week.
The expansion will provide the laptops to students in kindergarten through second grade. Students in the district's sixth through eighth grades began receiving Chromebooks in 2014-15 school year, and those in third through fifth grades received them at the start of the current school year.
"It's really making sure that all of our students have a baseline access to technology," Superintendent Michael Connolly said.
Estimates put the cost of the program at $1.1 million over the next three years, officials said.
"Basically we lease the devices for three years and then we return them," Chief Technology Officer Mike Frantini said.
The district received quotes from Acer, Dell and HP for the Chromebooks. It ultimately settled on the model already in use, the HP x360 11 G2 Chromebook. The main factors considered in the selection process included price, durability, functionality, and performance bench marks, according to district documents.
"(Students) use them for a variety of things -- to access information, to access the curriculum, to be creative," Frantini said. "It's really just a tool to enhance their learning.
"We just know that the benefits of modern student learning are really enhanced with the use of this technology," he added.