Thousands of Lakota students to receive laptops for learning at start of school year

Later this month, when classes begin for the 16,800-student Lakota Schools so too will an expansion of the district's use of learning laptops for younger grades. Thousands of students in grades 3-5 will have in-school access to their own Chromebook for learning, say Lakota officials. Journal-News
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Later this month, when classes begin for the 16,800-student Lakota Schools so too will an expansion of the district's use of learning laptops for younger grades. Thousands of students in grades 3-5 will have in-school access to their own Chromebook for learning, say Lakota officials. Journal-News

One of the most aggressive area school systems in providing digital tools for students to learn on is expanding its efforts when classes begin later this month.

Butler County’s largest school system – the 16,800-student Lakota district – will for the first time provide thousands of elementary grade students with their own laptops for learning while in school.

In fall 2018 and early 2019, Lakota became one of the largest school systems in the region to give laptops to middle and senior high school students for use both in school and at home.

ExploreLakota’s historic digital leap: Laptops for junior high, high school students

This school year, students in grades 3-5 will join sixth graders in having access at school to the special designed laptops – Chromebooks – adding about 3,800 students to the district’s total of students with such digital access to classroom lessons and instructional research for their learning.

The Chromebooks are not retail-grade laptops but rather specifically designed and restricted to school learning and research features designed to be used only for class work.

The expansion is part of Lakota’s larger digital learning strategy, said Superintendent Matt Miller, to expand options for students.

“We excited to expand this opportunity to our younger grade levels,” said Miller.

“Getting devices in the hands of our students continues to be critical to our mission of providing a personalized, future-ready learning experience to every single child,” he said.

Lakota students in grades one to 12 will begin a staggered class schedule start for the 2021-2022 school year – including students enrolled in all virtual learning from home - on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19 according to alphabetical listing of students last names.

In January 2019, Lakota expanded its laptop program by distributing about 4,000 laptops to Lakota East and Lakota West high school students.

ExploreVideo & Story: Lakota schools took its next big technology step on Monday. Here’s what it means for students.

Talawanda Schools was the first in Butler County to provide laptops to some of its students.

“Our one-to-one (laptop to student) program is all about empowering students to take control of their own learning and start to understand and view technology not just as a device, but as a critical tool in their education,” said Miller.

Lakota officials said the new round of laptops for elementary students could also be employed for at-home learning should remote learning be necessary, as it has been periodically since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 and subsequent spikes in coronavirus positive tests among students and school staffers.