North schools expand Chromebook access to all grade levels

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Roosevelt Avenue School Principal Jeannine Magliocco hands a Google Chromebook to a parent on Monday, April 6. Chromebooks were distributed to students in grades three through five to help them continue learning during the school closure. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

In preparation for the hybrid learning method, North Attleborough schools will be offering Google Chromebooks for all students in all grade levels.

The expansion of the program was announced at the School Committee meeting earlier this month. Prior to this, all students in grades 3-12 had their own Chromebooks. Since the beginning of the district’s 1:1 Chromebooks program, grades 6-12 were allowed to take their Chromebooks home and devices for those in grades 3-5 remained at the schools in charging stations. Students in grades K-2 also had access to devices, but they were computers stored in shared mobile computer carts.

According to Technology Director Gideon Gaudette, the order of Chromebooks for students in kindergarten through second grade was made over the summer and paid for through state and federal grants. They should be available by the end of September.

If students in grades K-2 need a device between the start of school (Sept. 16) and the time they receive their new Chromebook, the Technology Department will provide them with extra Chromebooks and laptops from each school’s mobile computer carts,” wrote Gaudette in an e-mail.

When schools were closed in mid-March due to the pandemic, North Attleborough schools adopted a remote learning option, with students accessing lessons online and interacting with their teachers via programs such as Google Classroom. To help facilitate this new learning method, students in kindergarten through the fifth grade were issued a device if needed.

This fall, North Attleborough schools will utilize a hybrid method in which students will be in school two days a week and learn remotely for three. Gaudette wrote that the district wanted everyone to have equal access to the online lessons, and so along with the Chromebooks, mobile Wi-Fi hotpots have been purchased for those without access to reliable internet.

One of our main goals for the fall is to provide consistency for all students—consistency of attendance, platform, digital tools, and internet access,” wrote Gaudette.

Each family is required to sign off on a set of guidelines before taking possession of a Chromebook, similar to what was issued last year. A software called GoGuardian is used to block students at home from viewing harmful websites. Google Classroom is the main platform being used and assignments, video recordings, directions, and resources will be posted on Google Classroom.