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First Shipment Of New Chromebooks Arrives In Belton ISD

Chromebooks

It felt like Christmas in July when a delivery of new Chromebooks arrived in Belton ISD last week.

It’s the first of several technology deliveries expected in the coming weeks as the district prepares for August’s reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We don’t know yet what the learning environment will look like next year - whether we’ll be face-to-face in the classroom, at home or some blended version - but we know that our students will be better served, regardless, if we have devices for them,” said Mike Morgan, assistant superintendent for student services.

In February, the Board approved the purchase of 3,079 devices to outfit students at Belton and Lake Belton high schools as part of a three-year plan to enhance student learning. Board members accelerated the plan timeline in June when they approved the purchase of an additional 5,300 devices for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students as well as all students at the district’s four middle schools.

“COVID-19 created a more immediate need to have the devices in hand for the 2020-2021 school year,” Morgan said. “It’s a credit to our Board for acting swiftly to allow us to make these purchases.”

Even the district’s youngest learners will have access to their own devices. Second grade students will use Chromebooks while kindergarteners and first-grade students will have access to iPads the district already owns.

Increasing the district’s device density represents a $3,375,000 investment, Morgan said. And while the state is still determining if districts will be reimbursed for device purchases in response to COVID-19, Belton ISD leaders feel strongly that it was the right move for students.

“Our goal in Belton ISD is to provide exceptional learning experiences for each and every student,” Morgan said. “Being able to provide devices to each and every student - especially in the era of COVID-19 - better ensures we’re able to do that.”

District leaders are also on a mission to increase internet connectivity for the Big Red Community with the purchase of additional hotspots, new fiber networks on all campuses and by promoting family internet sponsorship opportunities.

“Whatever this upcoming school year throws at us with regards to COVID-19, it’s good to know we’re controlling what we can control,” Morgan said. “Our students will have the technology needed to learn independently and collaboratively regardless of where they are physically.”