Holley will use state funds to provide laptops to students in grades 1, 5 and 9

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2019 at 9:29 pm

HOLLEY – State officials have approved about $540,000 in the first phase of Holley’s technology upgrades through the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014.

Holley has $1,311,463 in state funds through Smart Schools. The district was notified today that the state approved Holley’s plan to offer touch-screen laptop computers to about 225 students in grades 1, 5 and 9.

Holley also will replace SMART boards with 33 touch-screen flat panels that are “Smart TVs.”

The district will also upgrade existing security cameras and add more of them, as well as updating software for the cameras.

The district is working on its plans for phase 2 and 3 of Smart Schools, and wants to eventually make laptops available for students in grade 1 through 12. For now, Holley is focusing on grade 1, 5 and 9. Those computers will be available in 2019-20. The students will be assigned computers for four school years.

The plan is to offer laptops to students in grades 1, 5, and 9 each of the following three years. That way, after four years, all students in grades 1 to 12 will be covered, said Karri Schiavone, the elementary school principal.

The schedule could go faster if the state approves the Smart Schools plans in a timely manner or if other funding becomes available. Holley had to wait more than a year for phase 1 to be approved.

The district will provide training for teachers in grades 1, 5, and 9 over the summer, and the district will develop a plan and policy for student use of the laptops.

Schiavone said she would like to see the laptops stay at school for the elementary students, while Susan Cory, the high school principal, backs 9th-graders having the option of bringing the laptops home.

One issue for some students is a lack of high-speed internet access at home, Schiavone said.

The district will likely try to determine how many students don’t have internet access at home, and see how that issue can be addressed.

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