In the spring of 2017, community members went to the polls to vote on a tax levy for the Gasconade County R-1 school district. After failing the first time, the incentive passed in a close race, of 768 votes to 756, and eventually awarded the district money for transportation, technology, and higher teacher salaries. As the money came into the technology budget, the first task on the district’s mind was Google Chromebooks.
“The money had been budgeted in for a while,” said Angela Elder, part of the technology staff in the district. “The tax levy made it all possible. We had been trying to get a Chromebook for every 5th and 9th grader, and then they would keep it all through middle school, get another one Freshman year, and then all the way through high school. We had been able to start last year’s middle school off with the program, so now we have 5th and 6th graders with Chromebooks, but only 9th graders have them at the high school.”
“Based on research over a 15 year period, providing every student with a device increased student achievement and boosted the student's 21st Century skills. The research one-to-one programs on average had a statistically significant positive impact on student test scores in English/language arts, writing, math and science,” said Gasconade Co. R 1 Superintendent, Tracey Hankins. “Providing these devices to our students is only the first step in reaching increased student achievement. In addition to providing devices, including increased student engagement with technology is key; more student-centered and project-based learning; higher student engagement; and greater student-teacher relationships also contribute to increased student achievement,” Gasconade Co. R 1 Superintendent Tracey Hankins informed.
The new budget also allowed the technology department to get new equipment for the district, whether it be laptops, projectors, or smartboards.
“Obviously we can’t get every teacher a brand new SMARTboard; that would not be a smart spending decision,” Elder explained. “But we still need to keep those updated so the teachers can keep up with students. Plans have been made, and the money the tax levy has given us has helped.”
“The one-to-one initiative will continue, two grades at a time, until the entire district has devices,” Hankins added. “In addition to devices for students additional technology needs include computers for teachers and for use by students, replacement of Smartboards, and other technology equipment. Finally, expansion of technology for programs such as STEM and Makers Space are in the future of education in the District.”