Alcoa City Schools will provide full digital access with a computer for every student in all of its core classrooms by the 2019-20 school year.
AlcoaConnects, our four-year, digital transformation plan, will officially launch on the morning of Thursday, October 20, 2016 with the distribution of 505 Lenovo Chromebooks to 20 classrooms across all four schools, enabling on-demand 1:1 access for nearly a quarter of our students. Similar deployments will occur in the fall of 2017, 2018, and 2019, until every student has all day access in each core classroom to individual digital devices, enhancing the teaching and learning experience. By 2019-20, over 2,200 devices will be deployed with an estimated budget of approximately $555,000.
Supported in part by a generous $40,000 donation from the Alcoa City Schools Foundation, AlcoaConnects will ensure that technology is routinely woven into teachers’ instructional designs and that students communicate, collaborate, investigate, create, and share their developing knowledge and skills with the same digital tools and habits required for future studies, careers, and lives in our digitally connected world. “We have to prepare students for their future, not our past,” said Director of Schools, Dr. Brian Bell, while working with the Board of Education to approve the plan in July 2016.
Dr. Bell led a steering team that worked for over a year to identify best practices for deployment, student privacy and security, fiscal management, and pedagogical quality. The program will start with “day-use” only devices. In the fall of 2017, we will begin allowing students to take devices home, starting with the 6th grade of Alcoa Middle School. To optimize AlcoaConnects over the long-term, Alcoa City Schools is seeking to identify AlcoaConnects Partners, local businesses and organizations that support digitally enhanced learning and are willing to provide WiFi access for our students.
Twenty-one AlcoaConnects Exemplar Teachers will be the leading edge of our deployment. Each will receive their classroom set of Chromebooks during the morning on October 20. Representing all four schools and all four major content areas (English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies), Exemplars will work with their students to explore new tools and resources while developing the right balance of digital and conventional instructional methods. They will share their work with others, becoming peer mentors over the four-year transformation period.
Led by AlcoaConnects Exemplars, all teachers will learn new methods and further develop their teaching and learning skills to help build student engagement with content, offer more flexible and individualized learning opportunities, provide quick academic feedback, access a wider variety of contemporary learning resources, and expand options for student work and shared learning. All schools, as well as the district, will use Google for Education as the primary digital platform for collaboration and productivity.
Please direct questions and inquiries to Dr. Brian Bell, Director of Schools, 865-984-0531.