Students, teachers surprised with Chromebooks across Washington County

Jessica Fuller • Feb 26, 2018 at 7:05 PM

Students in Lindsay Carpenter’s first-grade class at Ridgeview Elementary School had just settled in for a story Monday morning when they got a big surprise.

Ridgeview Principal Kelley Harrell and Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton rolled in with a case full of new Google Chromebooks — a surprise that Carpenter didn’t see coming either.

“It’s like Christmas morning, I’m thrilled,” Carpenter said as her students set up their new computers. “For each one of them to have one, it’s so exciting.”

The Washington County Commission approved funding for 1,325 Chromebooks to be distributed in the county’s 12 elementary and middle schools. This feeds into the countywide effort to drive student-to-device ratios down. A few years ago, Halliburton said some of the county schools had ratios as high as 33 students to one device.

In addition to putting more computers in the hands of Washington County students, Halliburton also noted the sound audio enhancement installed in each elementary classroom in the district last year which will be expanded to sixth- and seventh-grade classrooms this year. 

“We’ve accomplished a lot in terms of technology in the school district,” Halliburton said.

Alana Street, a third-grade teacher at Ridgeview, has had Chromebooks for her students for more than a year, and she said her classroom has been transformed by having them. Street said it helps students get excited for their lessons, and opens different avenues of learning while allowing students to work at their own pace.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “It opens up a whole new world for the students because they have access to different websites where they work at their own pace.”

Carpenter’s students will still share their devices with other first-graders, but after this purchase, Ridgeview’s student-to-device ratio will go from 11:1 to 4:1, the same as at other county schools.

Before Monday, Carpenter’s class of 20 students had to share five Chromebooks. But when Halliburton opened the case full of brand new Chromebooks, students’ faces lit up as they approached one by one to take their new ones to their desks.

Carpenter, who won a grant for her classroom’s Chromebooks last year, said she is excited to see what possibilities a 1:1 ratio has for her classroom in addition to helping her students in the future. 

“They’re so much more engaged, and that’s like heaven on Earth for a teacher,” Carpenter said. “Technology is such a growing thing in our world today, so the earlier we can expose them and get them headed in the right direction, the easier it’s going to be in second grade, in third grade, and even into high school.” 

Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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