Tech Team paves way as KCS becomes 1:1 District

Tech Team paves the way as KCS becomes a 1:1 District
Posted on 12/17/2020
Chromebooks arrive at Kearsley on palletsThere have been a lot of changes due to COVID-19 during 2020, but one of the most positive was for the Kearsley Community Schools to become a 1:1 District. Meaning, in less than a year and during a pandemic, the Kearsley School District has supplied every student with his/her own device.

Shortly after Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the early closure announcements in March, the conversation about getting enough devices to make the school a 1:1 District became very serious.

The proposal was taken to the Board of Education in April and passed unanimously. Immediately an order was placed for nearly 3,000 Chromebooks. Impressive, considering that in January of 2020, there were only 600 devices on carts throughout the whole district, an amalgam of Chromebooks, iPads or laptops.

“Typically, an initiative of this proportion would have involved a lengthy process that involved school improvement teams, multiple meetings, and many discussions over how best to implement it,” said Assistant Superintendent Paul Gaudard. “However, the pandemic fast tracked everything.”

Anthony Klinck, the District’s lead Tech said that when the decision was made, everything moved quickly. He admitted that when he found out the district was going 1:1, he panicked.

“What a huge undertaking.” he said. “But, we got lucky. We ordered everything that we could find in stock, which meant a lot of schools order just a week or so behind us had to wait for devices to be manufactured and shipped. And since the coronavirus, production and distribution has slowed, many schools are still waiting.”

The newly ordered devices arrived on May 12. Klinck said the most challenging, and time-consuming part, was the unboxing and the configuration of each device.

“It was a lot of pressure,” Klinck said. “It was new to all of us - 2,200 devices arrived and we had to get them setup. We went from one operating system to another. The team really rocked it out.”

Instructional Technology Support Specialists Tammie Thorpe and Matt Turner got started. Thorpe took on the unboxing and Turner took the lead on the Gobox configuration, a device that allowed the team to double the amount of Chromebooks they could set up at one time, from 16 to 32.

The next challenge was to label and asset tag every device and then move them to buildings for distribution. Klinck said the maintenance team was enlisted to help with all the moving and Crystal Nusbaum, who was a PBIS at KHS, joined the Tech team.

“We had to expand the help desk line, email and add a person to the team,” said Data Analyst, Samantha Martin. “We knew we needed extra support for students and parents since there were going to be so many more electronic devices to manage.”

The Chromebooks were distributed during the Kearsley drive-through registration at each school building and all parents were given an option to buy insurance; several families have taken advantage of it.

Currently, grades 2 to 12 have Chromebooks, kindergartners have iPads, first graders have Windows- based laptops, and the staff has either iPads or Chromebooks. Most recently, Kearsley approved a bid to purchase 450 new Chromebooks with touchscreens for Weston students for next school year.

To help families deal with disruptions in internet and network issues, Kearsley purchased 125 hotspots, and continues to distribute them based on recommendations from teachers.

While there are still occasional connectivity issues, most outside of the district’s control, all Kearsley Hornets have the resources to learn in our ever-changing environment. Our Tech Team is here and available to assist and answer questions. They monitor email and phone messages weekdays from 7 to 3:30 p.m. and the Helpline is staffed live, from 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

Kearsley Technology Helpline email: kearhelp@kearsleyschools.org or 810-249-1266.
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.