NPSC receives Chromebooks, sets replacement policy

Thursday, October 19, 2017

BAINBRIDGE -- After approving the purchase of more than 1,400 Google Chromebooks in April, the North Putnam school board received confirmation on last week that the devices have arrived.

With a timetable to put the personal computers into the hands of students by Christmas 2019, Superintendent Dan Noel and the seven-member board heard an update from Five-Star Technologies consultant Brad Fischer and North Putnam Middle School Principal Scott Miller, the latter of whom has spearheaded this technology initiative alongside fellow principals Jason Chew, Rodney Simpson and Beth Waterman.

“ I’m continuing to work with my technical team, and there’s still a lot of work to do,” Fischer said, noting that more access points need to be installed at both the middle school and high school. “They’re not ready yet, but we’ll keep working on them and hit Fall Break hard, as well.”

One concern surrounding the Chromebooks and the students’ ability to take the device home has been insurance and replacement plan in the inevitable event a device is damaged, either at school or at home.

Working together with principals, teachers and officials from nearby school districts, Fischer and Miller have formed a committee to find a solution to this potential issue.

“Our committee, with the help of the principals and many teachers, has looked through several options on: ‘What’s our best approach to helping students and parents when an incident is admitted on a break on the Chromebooks?’

“We’re pleased to share that, what we came up with, is the best for the school district and the best for the parents,” he continued, “and it’s through a program called One2One Solutions (1:1).”

Fischer went on to explain that, through 1:1, parents will be able to register and enroll on the tech firm’s website (which will be provided at a later date to the parents) and pay $10 per semester to cover the child’s take-home device if damage occurs.

“That would cover them for their first incident for any kind for any kind of break or damage to the Chromebooks,” he said. “And there’s a deductible fee of $50 that would be set for that.

“A lot of thought has gone into this, and one of those thoughts is to keep the learning process as uninterrupted as possible, so we would go ahead and issue them a replacement but ask the parent to file that claim, and keeping track of who has paid and who has not paid -- that’s part of the benefit of this service,” Fischer added.

If damaged, lost or stolen, parents can expect to pay:

• $20 per year ($10 per semester) for enrollment

• First break, $50; second break, $50; third break, $50

• Lost or stolen: Full cost of the device

Through Five-Star Technology’s “E-Rate Program,” NPSC was able to purchase the devices for a total of $14,901.90.

“This is a good device,” Principal Miller said of the Chromebooks, “and a standard repair on one of these is going to be over $100, at a minimum.

“As a parent of a kindergartener who’s about to get one of these, (I say) ‘here is the $20,’” Miller continued. “I want her covered and I will be glad to pay that $20 and then just have to pay a $50 deductible for $150 of care. To get straight insurance for these, for a parent, is pretty expensive. This is the most economically-responsible policy that we could come up with and there are several schools in the area that are using this, i.e. Eminence, South Putnam and Mill Creek.”

Miller also reported that 5 percent of devices in the hands of students experience damage in any given school year. With 1,400 devices going into the hands of students in grades K-12, roughly 75-100 devices can be expected to undergo some sort of damage.

“We want those covered. We don’t want a disruption in the educational process and this is the best way we can do that.”

Fischer wrapped up the presentation by making something perfectly clear.

“We do want the students to feel ownership and that the Chromebook is their device,” he said. “But I should clarify that this is not insurance and (1:1) is not an insurance company -- they’re not underwriting it -- they are the management of helping keep track of (records), so we are setting those fees based on our information and the past experience of a lot of other schools.”

In April, Principal Chew said he hopes to see the devices in the hands of students in grades K-5 by the second semester of the 2017-18 school year, and by the first semester of the 2018-19 school year for grades 6-12.

In other business:

• The board approved the hire, transfer, resignation, retirement and termination of several employees. They were: Chandra Harden, resignation as instructional assistant at NPHS; Elaine Henderson, resignation as cafeteria aide at NPMS; Lynda Watson, hired as substitute bus driver/aide; Michelle Edwards, hired as bus aide; Andrew Thomas, hired as assistant boys’ and girls’ swimming coach at NPMS; Jenny Heron, hired as eighth-grade assistant girls’ basketball coach at NPMS and approved as volunteer assistant girls’ basketball coach at NPHS; Cameron Brothers, hired as assistant baseball coach at NPHS; and Altera Harris, approved as coach of the dance team.

• The next regularly-scheduled public session for North Putnam will be Thursday, Nov. 16 beginning at 7 p.m. inside the NPHS media center.

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