With school well underway, technology continues to play a pivotal role in students’ education.
Every student from kindergarten to 12th grade has a device to use for their education, every classroom has an interactive television to engage students, and every area in school has wireless coverage for internet connection.
All that starts with the summer program, which is the technology departments most critical and busy time of the year. It is composed of several Tahlequah High School and Northeastern State University students who have an interest in technology, and are willing to put in the work hours. They spend most of the summer fumigating, cleaning, repairing, reinstalling, and repackaging all 3,000-plus of our student devices – iPads for kindergarten through first and Chromebooks for second through 12th grade. We want all students to have functional devices as soon as school begins.
Technology training and support is also critical in this process, as technology is useless if teachers and students do not know how to properly use their technology. TPS is fortunate to have technology coaches, site techs, and support technicians who assist teachers with best practices and tech support. These functions are necessary to our success.
Other technology projects that were implemented this summer include a complete network switch refresh – still underway – and a wireless system upgrade. All network closets and switches were redone at the board of education, transportation, Heritage Elementary, Greenwood Elementary, Tahlequah High School, and Tahlequah Middle School. these upgrades increase the speed and performance of the network, as well as provide enhanced security. We anticipate completing the other sites – maintenance, child nutrition, Cherokee Elementary, and Central Academy – before the end of the year.
This year has also seen a substantial change in student device distribution at the high school. Distribution of Chromebooks at the high school will now provide students an assigned Chromebook for the duration of their high school years. This means students will be assigned a new Chromebook their freshman year and retain that Chromebook until their graduation. All other high school students, grades 10-12, will also retain their given Chromebooks for the duration of their time at Tahlequah.
This sort of policy and procedure is one many school districts across Oklahoma have implemented. This gives students some ownership of their device, ensures that they are solely responsible for its care, and will ease technology and library staff workload. Again, device insurance will continue to be provided to those who wish to purchase.
The technology team is incredibly fortunate and grateful to have received funding from various sources that have made these upgrades possible – Cherokee Tag, Federal ESSER, Federal E-Rate, Bond Project. We know all these implementations and improvements allow us to better meet the needs of our staff, patrons, and students, and we look forward to what the future brings here in Tahlequah.
TPS has the IT factor.
Written by Tahlequah Public Schools Technology Director Robert Batson.