School District One readying for technology rollout


By David Meade

During their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved wording for a sales and use tax referendum and heard an update on the technology rollout of more than 7000 iPads planned throughout the district in a few weeks.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jane Harrison said the Anderson One Digital Innovation rollout was a “huge undertaking” and district personnel involved in preparing for the upcoming rollout have done a great job.

“We have created a team that could write a manual for other rollouts” she said.

Harrison said they looked at technology rollouts in other districts and evaluating what worked or didn’t work, came up with a rollout plan for students and teachers and administrators in District One.

Principals and teachers have already had training on use of the new technology and parents are also being required to come for instruction session prior to iPads being issued to students, Harrison said.

The rollout, which will take place for students on the third day of school includes issuing 7420 iPads along with training and use of related applications (Apps) which will be used for learning in the classroom this school year.

Every student in the district will have access to iPads, Harrison said.

Students in middle and high schools will have their own iPad which will be used in school and at home for research and homework. There will be strict guidelines and oversight through the Airwatch browser the District is using, according to Harrison.

The rollout includes training, use guidelines and digital citizenship classes for students.

School officials are planning to make a big deal of the rollout, with a pep rally including performance by a band whose instruments are totally digital iPads, Harrison said.

Powdersville High will be the first with their deployment and kick-off event on August 20. Palmetto and Wren will follow on the next two days. Middle and Elementary schools will continue with their event with one being held each day over the next two weeks.

During the meeting, Board members were also presented information and a demonstration of some of the Apps being used including Razma, an automated reality App, a video of students talking about the technology, and Imovie of staff development in June, QR code use and a flipboard magazine App.

Board members were also presented an iPad and were told they could call on district technology personnel with any questions or problems in using them.

Superintendent David Havird addressing Board Chairman Fred Alexander and the board said, “You and board members encouraged us and entrusted us to plan for the future and allow us access to this new technology. Very few districts can say all students have access to this new technology.”

Assistant Superintendent Robbie Binnicker reported the student nutritional services served 1.2 million meals and had a profit of $198,000. He said the District will be reimbursed $115,000 for fringe benefits for the program. He said $100,000 was also used to purchase new equipment including washers and ovens.

Binnicker said at the request of parents, the District has been looking at providing a new credit/debit card payment system.

The board gave thier consensus to move forward with implementing the Revtrack system which will allow payments for food and other fees. Binnicker said the program could be expanded to include payments for tickets for athletic events, pageants and other items.

According to Binnicker, Powdersville schools will pilot the program because parents of students at those schools were most interested in it and most wanted it. Other schools can be brought online with the program, he said.

In other action, the board approved first reading on an appeals process for instructional staff evaluations.

The board also approved personnel recommendations and wording for a sales tax referendum. (See separate stories).