1:1 Chromebook rollout at Westfield Intermediate almost complete

Westfield Intermediate School logo. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – By the end of February, each student at the Westfield Intermediate School will have been assigned a dedicated chromebook for use during the day while in school, in the latest rollout of the 1:1 technology program in Westfield Public Schools.
Technology coach Erika Masciadrelli said students are given their devices in the morning and return them at night which is different from the Westfield Middle School program where students were assigned their chromebooks in the first semester.
Masciadrelli said at the middle school, they handed the devices to every student at the same time. She said expectations for the chromebooks were different, depending on the classroom.
At Westfield Intermediate, the district reconsidered the rollout process, Masciadrelli said, by having school librarian Hava Preye give the same orientation to all of the students prior to receiving their devices.
WIS Principal Katherine Bourque explained the process to parents in a newsletter.
“By the end of February WIS will have fully implemented our 1:1 device roll out. This means that we have enough chromebooks for each student to have their own assigned to them during the school day. Homerooms visited the library to learn how to care for and properly use their device before having them assigned,” Bourque wrote.
Preye said once students complete chromebook classes through the library, they earn a chromebook digital badge. Then each student will have an assigned chromebook to use in school for the rest of the year.
“We are very excited to see equitable access to technology across our school community. This will provide students with varied learning experiences so that they can become strong digital learners and responsible digital citizens,” Preye said.
Another change to the program also came from the experience at WMS, which had more damage to the chromebooks than expected.
In a report to the School Committee in December, WMS Principal Paul Newton said the biggest hiccup the school, which encompasses Grades 7-8, was having was managing the wear and tear on devices. “It’s more than what we thought we’d have,” he said at the meeting, adding that they were exploring other options, such as short-term insurance that families might voluntarily purchase while their child is using the device.
Newton said students are responsible for the chromebooks assigned to them, just as they are for any other school-issued materials such as locks or textbooks if they lose or damage them. He said different problems were arising with the chromebooks; some due to accidents, some through irresponsible use, and some due to malicious damage. Students may be held responsible for some or all of the replacement cost, and face possible disciplinary action.
Learning from that experience, Masciadrelli said the district has ordered cases for the chromebooks for Grades 5/6 at WIS, where they expect more of the damage will be accidental.
“This was a change based on what we had seen at Westfield Middle School. We tweaked our rollout process because of the pilot at WMS,” Masciadrelli said, adding, “It’s going wonderfully.”

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