Clark-Pleasant school adding more Chromebooks

Starting next school year, another Johnson County school will join the growing list of those who provide devices to students.

Students at Clark-Pleasant Middle School will be getting Chromebooks to use instead of textbooks.

The added 1,600 devices is a continuation of the school district’s start with one-to-one devices this school year at Whiteland Community High School.

School officials had been considering expanding the program to the middle school next, and went with that option after seeing the benefits of the devices at the high school, Clark-Pleasant Schools Superintendent Patrick Spray said.

Clark-Pleasant is the latest school to replace textbooks with laptops or tablets, joining four others across the county. Greenwood schools has not implemented a one-to-one program, but has also been working to expand the number of devices students use in their classrooms in recent years.

Funding has long been an issue for local schools to buy the devices. Many schools use the money parents pay in school fees to afford the devices.

The same is true at Clark-Pleasant.

And parents at the middle school should expect their fees will likely go up to pay for the new devices, but officials aren’t exactly sure how much yet. Spray estimated the increase could be around $60 per student, he said.

At the high school, the cost per student for a Chromebook was about $82, but school officials didn’t want to increase fees by more than $25 per student so they looked at other reductions to bring the total cost down.

The increase at the middle school would come after school officials had worked to lower the fees in recent years, Spray said.

For example, textbook rental fees for a student in sixth grade were about $96 this school year, down from $138 in the 2013-2014 school year, and were $106 for a seventh grader, down from $154 three years ago.

The goal is to try to keep the fees as low as possible by using digital resources as much as possible, replacing textbook fees with the fees for the devices, so parents aren’t paying both costs, Spray said.

Once the devices are added at the middle school, students in grades six through 12 will be using Chromebooks, Spray said.

Through using them at the high school, officials have found that the devices give both students and teachers more flexibility and more resources, he said.

They can be more creative, and they have more options for how to do assignments and give lessons, such as recording lessons on video that students can refer back to, Spray said.

“They are more responsive to what students will be asked to do in college and work,” he said.

At a glance

Here is a look at what schools provide their students with in technological devices:

Center Grove

iPads are given to high school and middle school students, and elementary classrooms have enough devices for each child to use daily.

Clark-Pleasant

Students at Whiteland Community High School were given Chromebooks this school year, and the program is now being expanded to the middle school next school year.

Edinburgh

Every student in grades 3-12 is given a laptop.

Franklin

Every high school, middle school and intermediate school student has a Chromebook.

Greenwood

Students can bring their own devices, and the school has enough devices for classrooms to use.

Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson

Students from grades 3-12 have laptops or iPads given to them from the school district.

Author photo
Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.