The Gonzales Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to approve the purchase of more than 2,200 Chromebook computers for students in a special meeting Monday, July 6.
Students in grades three through 12 will receive a Chromebook, intended to assist with instructional needs and online testing. As for pre-kindergarten through second grade students, they will receive iPads.
“The focus of the purchase supports the 21st-century learning of meeting students where they are,” the district wrote in a Facebook post. “By placing such tools in the hands of our students, this will enable our students to utilize applications and resources not only at school but at home as well.”
The district said it is meeting students “where they are,” both at home and in the classroom, with the implementation of what it is calling the One:Nation initiative.
“We are excited to implement the One:Nation initiative together as the Apache Nation,” the district wrote. “With such initiative, we are meeting the Apache Nation students, parents, teachers, and the staff where they are”
Details about distribution of Chromebooks and iPads are forthcoming, and the total cost to the district is approximately around $800,000, with the purchase not to exceed $838,000.
Director of Public Relations Robin Trojack said that the district is exploring options as far as ensuring students will have access to the internet. While Trojack said there are multiple providers offering low-cost internet services to eligible households, GISD is working on a couple different “hotspot” options, including the wireless access already available on campuses.
“We have contacted our local provider regarding service options; however, we have not received a response yet regarding ‘hotspot’ options,” Trojack said. “We are exploring the possibility of setting up ‘hotspots’ on our school buses and positioning them throughout the community if needed. Any and all are welcome to come to any GISD campus and use the wireless access that has been available during this past spring semester.”
Trojack also said that students who have unlimited data also have the option of using their own mobile hotspot to connect to the internet.
Some local providers, such as Spectrum, have subscription plans available to families who qualify for affordable internet connections. Spectrum’s offer of free internet to students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer available, per the company’s website. GVEC told the Inquirer that while their previous special for students at home due to COVID-19 which was offered earlier in the year has ended, those interested may call to see if any other specials fit their needs. GVEC also said that once the school year starts, they may offer another special specifically for students.