Rochester Community School District Adopts 1-to-1 Technology Model

In preparation for the 2020-21 school year, Rochester Community Schools (RCS) is pleased to announce its movement to a 1-to-1 technology model, providing more than 15,000 students with access to a device.

Three young students sit at a table and look at a laptop computer

Rochester Community Schools adopts 1-to-1 technology model

This 1:1 technology integration ensures that the district’s commitment to providing academic excellence will continue, no matter the scenario presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The timeline for the deployment of the devices will depend on the availability of equipment.

“In every model of equitable instruction that we’ve researched and evaluated for the fall, continued success hinges on a strong technology foundation that includes access to a device and internet connectivity for all students,” said Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Debi Fragomeni. “We are proud to be able to offer this option for our families.”

After identifying, assessing, and analyzing multiple personal electronic devices, RCS has selected Dell Chromebooks as the 1:1 device. “They are easy to use, deploy, manage, support, and are cost-effective. Our research shows that Chromebooks meet 97 percent of our needs, and the cost is one-third of a traditional laptop,” said Executive Director of Technology and Strategic Initiatives Cindy Lindner.

Over the past few years, a number of initiatives have strengthened the district’s technology infrastructure and enhanced teaching and learning capabilities.

  • The strategic plan set the vision for the organization, providing a forward-thinking framework for innovative instruction. Strategic Plan 2020 states, “RCS will ensure a world-class education by focusing resources on developing and enhancing assets which include people, innovative partnerships, state-of-the-art technology and facilities.”
  • In November 2015, the community overwhelmingly voted to invest in our schools and school facilities by approving a $185 million bond proposal that funded critical infrastructure and technology enhancements and improved student safety and school security.
  • The first year of the bond invested $3 million in technology upgrades, which focused on wireless and network systems, security, storage, backups, firewalls, content filtering, virtualization, fiber, and bandwidth. Once a solid infrastructure was in place, improvements then focused on secure entrances, cameras, a universal phone system, PA and clocks, classroom and device pilots, and deploying mobile labs. Instructional staff and administrators were also provided with laptops at that time.
  • In addition, the passage of a 2019 building and site sinking fund enabled RCS to earmark resources for further technology devices. “We determined that we could make the initial technology investment with the bond; however, the 1:1 technology model required sustainable funding. This was the primary reason that we originally used mobile computer labs within school buildings,” said Lindner. “The passage of the sinking fund enabled the district to revisit the 1:1 learner-centered approach and invest in this educational opportunity for students.”

Understanding that one size does not fit all, the district is exploring three learning options for the fall, where the 1:1 technology will enhance teaching and learning.

In-person instruction will resume in the fall per the governor’s executive order, with strict safety measures in place.

Virtual learning will be available as a full-time option for families. The district will be drawing on the expertise of RCS teachers who are extremely skilled in their craft to restructure core courses for use in a virtual setting.

Remote learning would be utilized if there was a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic. It could be activated quickly, but would have more rigorous requirements and more robust academic instruction than the stop-gap measures put in place during the crisis in March 2020.

“Public education is an investment in our students, said Superintendent Robert Shaner, Ph.D. We are thankful to be part of a community that places such a high value on education. It is because of the community’s investment that we were able to quickly transition to remote learning and support all COVID-19 technology needs, knowing that we can sustain our investment moving forward.”

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