Shrewsbury expands iPads access for students

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

student using an iPad
New ipads were purchased with COVID-19 grant funding for Shrewsbury students in grades 3 and 4, while reallocated existing devices were distributed to grades K through 2.
Photo/submitted

Shrewsbury – Brian L’Heureux, director of information technology, gave an update to the School Committee at their Dec. 16 meeting on the district’s existing iPad program. He noted that one to one access to iPads has been expanded as a way to make access equitable among remote and hybrid learning students.

“We did expand that access through the pandemic to students K through grade 4 for the school year,” L’Heureux said.”

New devices were purchased with COVID-19 grant funding for grades 3 and 4 while reallocated existing devices were distributed to grades K through 2.

“As this has played out, we’ve gotten some feedback from teachers on some benefits to the iPads being in the classrooms at the elementary level,” L’Heureux said. 

 

Benefits include:

  • Increased technology confidence
  • Students can practice tools such as Freckle and ST Math at home
  • Additional support for students with special needs 
  • students can turn in their work using manipulatives such as photos and equitable access to digital books.

 

Recommendations 

“One of the concerns that has been expressed is over screen time, especially for younger students,” L’Heureux noted. 

He recommended that the district continue to provide iPads to students in kindergarten through grade 4 in the future as well as the grade 5 through 12 programs.

“We do have an opportunity given the timing of the Beal building project to actually purchase iPads for the Beal students using project funding,” he said. 

He laid out a purchasing schedule that leverages a combination of existing iPads and purchasing new iPads as part of appropriated budgets in fiscal year (FY)2022, FY2023 and FY2024.

The recommendation was unanimously supported by the committee.