Technology was at the center of the Warsaw School Board public work session Tuesday, from changes to the school corporation’s 1:1 program to the purchase of a CNC machine.
Chief Technology Officer Brad Hagg reminded the board that sixth-graders at all Warsaw elementary schools were given iPad Minis at the start of the current school year to begin the corporation’s 1:1 program.
“Technology is not an end goal, but will accelerate our progress of what we want to learn,” Hagg said.
Through a three-year lease, the sixth-graders will keep their Minis through eighth grade, and then may purchase the device at the conclusion of middle school. Teachers receive professional development to learn how to incorporate the devices into their classrooms.
Nineteen apps were preloaded into the 535 devices for the sixth-graders, as well as security features to protect the students.
Hagg said after the first semester, “It really is making a difference and you can see it when you walk from classroom to classroom.”
According to data provided by Hagg, 32 percent of students were asked in 2013 to collaborate online with classmates at least monthly. That has increased to 62 percent now. Just 16 percent of students were asked to write online at least monthly in 2013, but that’s up to 51 percent now. Students asked to identify and solve authentic problems using technology at least monthly increased from 47 percent to 62 percent; and teachers who ask their students to complete online assessments at least monthly increased from 33 to 64 percent.
Of the 535 iPad devices, Hagg said only one was damaged in the first semester. So far in the second semester, there’s been one student who had an issue with his device – twice, both involving a dog.
The original 1:1 plan was for sixth-graders to carry their devices on with them to seventh grade and give the new sixth-graders in the 2015-16 school year devices so that two grade levels would have them. But, Hagg said, because of concerns with seventh-graders having the devices and not eighth-graders, he said he wanted to accelerate the middle school 1:1 program and also give eighth-graders iPads for the 2015-16 school year.
For 2015-16, lease payments for the devices to the school district would be $51,440 for sixth grade with $24,750 coming from textbook rental fees ($45 parent cost) and $26,690 from the corporation’s Capital Projects Fund; $51,440 for seventh grade with $24,750 from TBR ($45 parent cost) and $26,690 from CPF; and $65,624.13 for eighth grade, with $32,175 from TBR ($58.50 parent cost) and $33,449.13 from CPF.
For 2016-17, the lease payments for the devices to the school district would be the same for grades sixth through eighth at $51,440 per grade level with $24,750 coming from TBR ($45 parent cost) and $26,690 per grade level from CPF. The lease payment for the devices to the school corporation would be $65,624.13 for ninth grade, with $32,175 from TBR ($58.50 parent cost) and $33,449.13 from CPF.
With the abundance of devices at both middle schools, Hagg said he wants to make sure the schools can handle the network load.
Through the E-rate program, WCS may get about a 60 percent discount to improve the network at Edgewood and Lakeview middle schools. Hardware total cost at Edgewood is estimated at $56,917.44, but with an E-rate discount of $34,150.46, WCS may only be obligated for $22,766.98. Lakeview’s hardware total cost estimate is $50,464.31, but after an E-rate discount of $30,278.59, WCS would only be obligated for $20,185.72 of the cost.
Devices for the elementary schools also need to be chosen. The total annual cost on a three-year lease to continue with the iPad Mini would be $46,215.30, with $23,240 paid from textbook rental fees ($40 parent cost) and $22,975.30 paid from CPF. The other devices Hagg compared were: iPad Air at $73,865.48 annual cost, $37,184 TBR ($64 parent cost), $36,681.48 from CPF; iPad Air 2 at $93,615.60 annual cost, $47,061 from TBR ($81 parent cost), $46,554.60 from CPF; Chromebook, $44,437.79 annual cost, $22,659 TBR ($39 parent cost), $21,778.79 from CPF; laptop, $98,750.64 annual cost, $49,385 from TBR ($85 parent cost), with $49,365.64 from CPF; and MacBook Air, $183,478.68 annual cost, with $91,798 from TBR ($158 parent cost) and $91,680.68 from CPF.
Hagg said he will continue to give the board updates on the 1:1 program at future board meetings.
In another matter before the school board Tuesday, Chief Financial Officer Kevin Scott said the board was asked for permission to advertise for a CNC machine for the Warsaw Area Career Center, paid for through a grant. The estimated price was $175,000.
Ronna Kawsky, WACC director, said she wanted to keep the project local and she was able to negotiate on the price with Capital Equipment Sales. While the quote was $278,000, Kawsky said the company gave $115,000 in donation and added another machine, for a final cost of $163,490.
“This is a game changer,” Kawsky said.
The board will approve the purchase at is regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.
The board also will be asked to approve the purchase of two used vehicles Monday. One is a 2014 Toyota Sienna from Toyota of Warsaw for $30,000, while the other is a 2014 Chevrolet Express G3500 for $25,385 from H&L Motors LLC.
Scott reminded the board they were asked for permission in December to seek three used vehicles not to total more than $70,000. With the purchase of these two vehicles, he said that leaves about $14,000 for the third vehicle.
(Story By The Times Union)