To adapt to the needs of 21st-century learners, the Brentwood Union School District may invest further in its pilot project that would put iPads into the hands of teachers and students in the next academic year.
District officials are researching the possibility of expanding the project, which is already at Krey, Garin, Pioneer and Brentwood elementary schools and Edna Hill and Adams middle schools, where about 100 mobile learning devices are being used in classrooms.
"Everything is moving so quickly to help get ready for the 21st-century learner," Brentwood school board member Emil Geddes said.
Recently, Brentwood Superintendent Merrill Grant met with fourth-grade lead teachers, who are gauging the interest level on their campuses for branching the program out to all of the district's 911 fourth-graders.
"I'm excited about their excitement," said Grant at a recent school board meeting. "We want to keep that excitement going."
According to Grant, fourth grade was selected because of the larger class sizes, being outside of the critical kindergarten-through-third-grade transition time frame and more independent learning at that grade level. Grant will further determine the interest level in the proposed program expansion at a Jan. 23 meeting at Edna Hill Middle School with the program committee, board members and grade level teachers.
"Funding is the elephant in the room," Grant said. "We understand that we have limited
Grant estimated it will cost at least $750,000 to pay for the iPads, educational applications, professional development to train the teachers and technical support staff for classes. He added that there are options for local businesses to help out financially.
"We haven't talked about taxing our community for the benefit of our program," Grant said.
To launch the program this year, the district contributed $50,000 and the Brentwood Education Foundation also donated $50,000.
School board member Heather Partida was skeptical about getting a project of this magnitude ready by the start of school in late July.
"It is a short amount of time to make such a big decision and get curriculum in place," she said. "It is a great program. It is quite an endeavor."
Grant noted that the vision would have to be set and the funding identified by the March break. Geddes said that many parents would likely be supportive, due to the fact that many students already own smart phones, tablets and iPads.
"The readiness of our children is there," new board member Jim Cushing said.
Contact Paula King at 925-779-7174.