Mason Public Schools hand out 1500 Chromebooks as students get lessons online
In this edition of Schools Rule, WILX News 10 is highlighting one school district who is making the transition to online learning easier for their students.
Mason Public Schools have distributed more than 1500 Chromebooks (laptops) to their students in grades Kindergarten through 12th.
“The kids were excited, the parents were very appreciative of the Chromebook and many of them picked up multiple devices for their household,” Superintendent of Mason Public Schools Ron Drzewicki. “Not only do you need the connectivity, you need devices for all your kids.”
“It was certainly an exciting time, fast and furious, certainly, trying to pass out 1500 Chromebooks in an eight- hour period and trying to make sure we’re respectful of social distancing,” Drzewicki said when asked about handing out the Chromebooks to Mason families. “It was a chilly day and it rained on us so it was fast and furious so it wasn’t the most comfortable day. But we made it work.”
To do so, Mason Public Schools used funds from the Dart Foundation, the Mason Public Schools Foundation and a bond.
“It goes back to the support from our community to provide these devices,” said Drzewicki .”I was excited to see that many people wanted devices because that told me they want to be engaged, they want their kids to be learning during this period and they want that connection to their school district.”
A Chromebook is a personal computer and Mason students actually use them all school year.
“I felt relieved because I felt like it might help this online learning process a little better,” said Katey Burkhart. Burkhart is a parent of three students in Mason Schools. She has students in first and third grade and early learning. She picked up two Chromebooks for her household.
“We talked to the kids like, ‘Do you think we should get a Chromebook?’ It pumped them up a little bit because they were able to get a Chromebook from school that they were used to and it would have the work on it that they would need to do.”
Mason Schools gave families the option to decide how many Chromebooks they’d like.
“It feels great,” said Burkhart. “My kids will ask, ‘When you were a kid did you have to go through this?’ I say, ‘Nope, no one knows what we’re doing and when we’re going to go back and this is just all very uncertain.’ It’s been great that they’re helping and doing everything they can to make sure students still feel connected to their friends and their teachers.”
‘The Chromebook is for my older student who does have some special learning needs,” said Shana Badgley. Badgley has two students in Mason Schools, a high school and a middle school student. She and her family picked up one device for their household.
“I felt like it was really important for him to have this Chromebook that he’s familiar with. This is not new to him, this is what he uses technology-wise at school. We didn’t have to teach a whole different device or style, in how you check in and how you get on your learning device,” explained Badgley. “It felt like to me familiarity was really important to him and so to me that has meant a lot.”
Mason started their online learning on April 20th and have had 90% student participation.
Students and teachers have regular Skype and check-in sessions.