Mehlville road map projects student-to-computer ratio of 1.4-to-1 by 2016-2017

Mehlville not doing anything ‘willy-nilly,’ according to Knost

By Kari Williams

A technology road map for the Mehlville School District projects the student-to-computer ratio will be 1.4-to-1 by the 2016-2017 school year.

Director of Information Technology Services Steven Lee and Director of Curriculum Technology Alicia Landers presented the road map to the Board of Education last week.

Lee told the board there are “decision points” throughout the plan and as those points come up, district officials will consider where older technology can be moved to within the district. That technology, according to Lee, could be rotated through Mehlville and Oakville Senior Highs again, or could be put in elementary and middle schools.

Mehlville’s One-to-One Open Source Pilot Program, which provides one laptop per student, began earlier this year with one freshman English class at each of the district’s high schools at a total cost of $400,000. Four additional laptop carts were purchased at roughly $82,000 to introduce the one-to-one concept to middle schools and for one day of professional development training.

The second phase of the pilot was introduced this school year, with each high school having 15 sections of one-to-one classes.

Landers told the board the district already has begun to get teachers and students on the elementary and middle school levels “some of the one-to-one tools so that they can start infusing into their curriculum.”

“We’re taking a good look at K through two and what type of technology does a kindergarten through second-grader need,” she said.

Laptops and tablets currently are being piloted, and once it is determined which tool works best in the classroom, the district “will then look at purchasing devices for that grade level,” according to Landers.

Additionally, some computer labs at the high school level “will essentially go away,” according to Landers, because they will “no longer” be needed.

“… As one-to-one grows, every single room is a computer lab, but at the middle school and elementary level, those computer labs will be maintained for as long as they’re needed …,” she said.

Lee said the student-to-computer ratio is “improving every year” and will continue to improve.

“The neat thing about the technology is we’ve already found it’s very mobile, and we can move it around as needed and we’re finding new applications for the laptops each week …,” he said.

Superintendent Eric Knost told the board the technology road map shows “that we’re not doing anything willy-nilly with a decent amount of money dedicated to technology.”

Funds for the one-to-one program — $500,000 per year through 2016-2017 — are in addition to the district’s “regular” technology budget, according to Knost.

Funds for the “Technology Refresh Cycle” listed on the technology road map — $300,000 per year through 2016-2017 — are included in the “regular” technology budget.

The budgeted amounts — not the specific use of those funds — are approved by the board, Knost said.