K-L Students to Receive Devices

guided by continuity, flexibility, equity and safety

All Katonah-Lewisboro students will be given a district iPad or laptop to use this school year.

Not only will the personal devices deter sharing high-touch surfaces, they will ensure that all students have access to their teachers, no matter how learning is delivered. The standardization is helpful for teachers, too, allowing them to know how online instruction displays for students.  

“We want our students to experience as little educational disruption as possible when the inevitable shifts occur,” said Superintendent Andrew Selesnick.

Distribution of devices will happen either in the classroom or in a drive-by pick-up before the school year begins. There is no increase in budget. As computer labs continue to be decommissioned—both as outdated models and to be used as additional classroom space—funds were reallocated to this initiative.

An Accelerated Plan

“Personal devices for students was part of the district’s technology plan,” said Director of Technology Chris Nelson. “The pandemic just accelerated it.”

Last September, the district provided classroom sets of iPads for grades three through five; each of the students had an assigned device. Students in other grade levels had access to shared devices, picking up a district iPad or laptop in the library, classroom or lab as needed and signing into cloud-based accounts like Microsoft Office 365.

When the district shifted to remote learning in mid-March, all students who needed devices were given them. The district technology department distributed and supported over 400 devices to families in this shift.

This year, students in kindergarten through seventh grade will receive a district iPad. Students in grades eight through twelve will receive a district MacBook Pro or Dell laptop. The devices are meant to travel from home to school with the students.

Committed to a thoughtful use of technology

“While we want and now need students to have ongoing access to technology, we continue to be committed to the judicious use of technology,” said Nelson, referring to the district’s Technology Commitment.

“We want students to have the technology tools at the ready but are also thinking about ways to ensure that students have access to physical tools, like books, math manipulatives and art materials,” said Mary Ford, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “We’re talking about creating a go-bags for elementary school students to take home for distance learning days.”