Why is Sauk Rapids-Rice increasing access and opportunity through technology for students?
Providing a quality educational experience must include equal access to technology, opportunity for all children (and families), and the successful integration of technology into daily learning. All children must be able to utilize technology effectively if they are to be successful when they graduate. This is true regardless of the path children take (i.e. military, post-secondary, work, other).
How is the additional technology being funded?
Through effective fiscal management and some opportunistic legislative changes, the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District is in a great position to move forward with this plan and to be able to sustain it. Many of you are aware that the state has initiated additional financial support for all day every day kindergarten beginning this year, a program we previously funded in our school budget. In combination with the recent legislative action related to increased location equity aid, our school district will receive approximately $1.5 million more dollars each year, beginning next year. Sauk Rapids-Rice benefits more than most school districts because of our low operating referendum and less than average funding. We are excited and appreciative of these legislative changes and the Legislature’s attempts to equalize funding for all children, regardless of where they live or school they attend. Moreover, Sauk Rapids-Rice is committed to using these resources to directly support our children and their families.
Do students need to pay the fee to use a device?
Yes, students whose families would like to take their device home will be required to pay a fee. The fee for 24/7 access in 2016-2017 is:
– High School: $60
– Middle School: $30
– Elementary: $30, $15 for grade 3 for a half year
Can I bring my own technology?
No, students will not be able to bring their own technology devices to school. School-owned devices have more security and monitoring options built in. This ensures that students are using machines appropriately and also helps to keep student machines free of viruses, etc.
School owned equipment is attached to a wireless network with more speed and privileges within the building. School-issued devices will also have classroom specific software installed on them that students will use in their classes.
What device will students be receiving?
High School students will be receiving 13 inch MacBook Air laptop computers. Elementary and Middle School students will be receiving an iPad Air. These devices were chosen because of demonstrated student success with finding, using and sharing information; speed; battery-life; reliability; connectivity; and security.
Will students use the same device computer throughout their school years?
All devices will be returned to the District at the end of the school year. If a student is returning to the same school building the following year, they will be issued the same device, if available.
What if a student damages his/her device?
The devices will be issued with protective cases and do not damage easily.
Laptop | Students are expected to use the carrying case anytime their laptop is transported. Students who have a damaged MacBook Air will be required to pay a deductible. Deductibles will be used to cover the costs to fix and/or replace the device and are intended to protect the School District’s and Community’s investment. Please refer to the current 1:1 Handbook for Damage Fee information.
iPad Air | iPads must remain in the case they are issued in at all times. Students who have a damaged iPad Air will be required to pay a deductible. Deductibles will be used to cover the costs to fix and/or replace the device and are intended to protect the School District’s and Community’s investment. Please refer to the current 1:1 Handbook for Damage Fee information.
Note: School Districts who have provided these devices for students have reported minimal damage and replacement costs.
Will Internet access be filtered off-campus?
No, Internet access will not be filtered off-campus. Families are encouraged to consider how, when, and where their students are using their device. Families are also encouraged to adjust settings and/or limit access on their child’s device as they deem appropriate. Sauk Rapids-Rice Staff remain available to answer questions and/or assist families as needed.
What if a student does not have WiFi at home?
WiFi is not necessary and/or required at home. While having WiFi is ideal for most, the device will provide many features that are accessible without WiFi. Students may download resources and course work at school that can be accessed at home without WiFi. Furthermore, local businesses such as restaurants and libraries offer WiFi free of charge for students who need access after hours. Students are also invited and encouraged to use the hours that the school is open to complete work that may require WiFi.
Will students have hard copy or electronic textbooks?
For most courses, textbooks are available in both paper and electronic versions. As the District considers future textbooks purchases, student needs and preferences will be considered. Most textbook companies currently provide materials in both formats for the same or similar price. We want to continue to provide resources that meet the needs of all students. Online textbooks provide an opportunity to decrease the weight of the backpacks that many of our students currently carry.
How will learning change?
When all students have increased and equal access to technology, learning will become more personalized. With the tremendous amount of resources available, students will be able to find the information they need and to share their learning with others when, how, and where they want. As a result, students will be more prepared for life after high school, regardless of their path.