It is hard to believe that the district is in the 4th year of having a 1:1 Digital Learning Environment. In October of 2014, each student in the Arcola School District received an iPad device to use to enhance learning in the classroom and improve ways to communicate with teachers and other students. Since then, students have grown in their use and knowledge of technology and teachers have adjusted how they communicate with students and also in what types of learning activities they require of students.
This wonderful opportunity was made because of the incredible support from of a community group, led by long-time community member and graduate of Arcola High School, Tim Monahan. This group, financially supported by community members, Arcola Alumni and the local business community, raised around $750,000 for the initiative. The donors for the project are proudly displayed on the Donor Recognition Display in the main high school hallway.
When the initiative was implemented, one important question was how will this technology be sustained moving forward. No one wanted to implement this new technology but then in three or four years have outdated technology with serious limitations! As a result, the Arcola School Board was proactive in planning for the future. The Board approved a $500,000 Working Cash Bond issuance in the Fall of 2016 for the purpose of being able to support the annual lease payment for the next student device purchase. The Board was able to do this without raising property taxes.
One true and absolute fact about technology is that technology quickly evolves and changes. Because of that fact, the older students are beginning to experience some limitations in the use of their device. There are some resources and applications they cannot use because their devices cannot handle the newest upgrades. This fact, among other reasons, has led the junior high-high school staff to begin researching a recommendation for a device upgrade for students in grade 7-12. The junior-senior high staff has a school improvement team collecting and analyzing data; working with various vendors and outside sources; and formulating a recommendation that will be made to the school board later in the school year. This recommendation will be on what device the committee recommends for the students in Grades 7-12 for the 2018-2019 school year.