USD 418 board approves Project Connect

By Chris Swick
July 28, 2015

The program proposed for McPherson High School that would bring laptops to students has gone through few changes since it was first presented to the USD 418 Board of Education in 2013, but Monday night, Project Connect came full circle.

The Board voted in favor of implementing Project Connect at the high school for the coming school year in the form it initially took, meaning a one-to-one program that would provide each student at MHS with a Google Chromebook. The “Bring Your Own Device” aspect of the plan that was tentatively accepted last month by the board will no longer be part of the project.

New MHS Principal Brad Plackemeier said this would solve issues with students having different versions of programs, which could hamper learning in the classroom.

“Let's say if I were using a phone or an iPod or an iPad that I had brought, I may not have updated to the latest app,” Plackemeier said. “Or I may have updated and everybody else didn't, and I'm ahead and they are not. From what we've seen, and in my experience with the Chromebooks, they exceeded our expectations for what they can do with all the testing and any of the [assessments].”

Business Manager Gordon Mohn said the district plans to rent the Chromebooks to the students for 40 dollars a year.

“That's a id="mce_marker"60 over the four years we generate fees,” Mohn said. “Our actual cost of the Chromebook is $40. At 775 of them that's $31,000. We buy it as we have before as a four-year lease. So our annual cost is about $7,700 in that annual lease.”

The board approved the project unanimously.

The hope is to get the Chromebooks into the high school as soon as possible, but it was cautioned that may not be until October or November due to the demand and the nearness of the school year.