Florence One Schools teachers, administrators ready for Imagine Forward to begin

November 11, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Florence One Schools 1:1 initiative Imagine Forward will begin Monday in third through fifth grades, providing Chromebooks for students. Some students already have Chromebooks and now they will be able to take them. Briggs Elementary School Principal Tara Newton said she is excited for the students to be able to take the Chromebooks home.

Students have been using Chromebooks at Briggs for three years. Newton said it has made a big difference.

“It has transformed how we teach and how they learn,” Newton said. “It’s exciting and they love it.”

The students haven’t been able to take the Chromebooks home in the past, and Newton said she glad that now all students will have equal resources at home.

“It levels the playing field greatly,” Newton said.

Newton said using the Chromebooks will allow learning to continue at home because students can look up what they’re learning in class and see things they wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.

“It just opens up a world of resources for students at home and at school,” Newton said.

Newton said she is most excited for the 1:1 initiative because there is a plan for sustainability within the district to keep the 1:1 initiative going.

“Every detail was thought of, and I as a principal don’t have to worry about the funding to buy the tools that I need,” Newton said. “I’m very much thankful the district has taken this over.”

Wendy Fraizer, principal at Dewey L. Carter Elementary School, served on the 1:1 committee, where she got to work behind the scenes on getting the Chromebooks ready.

“I think Monday will be a very exciting day to see all of that work come to fruition,” Fraizer said.

Frazier said she thinks the biggest thing that going 1:1 will do is transform the way the classroom functions.

“We are going to see a transition from teacher-led classrooms to student-led classrooms, and that is what we want,” Fraizer said.

After implementing the Chromebooks, Frazier said, the amount of resources will increase for students greatly, allowing them to compete across the world.

“I think it is going to be a smooth transition, but it’s going to be a welcomed transition,” Frazier said.

Lucy T. Davis Elementary School technology coordinator Erika Hartman also served on the 1:1 committee. She said it was a long process with a lot of components to work through, such as the curriculum and digital citizenship.

“I’m excited to see us grow in blended learning in the classrooms, where there’s just a mix of technology with teacher instruction, and really having the opportunity to tailor lessons to the needs of the student is going to be most important,” Harman said.

Valerie McElroy, a teacher at Greenwood Elementary School, has been 1:1 in her classroom for a few years.

She received a grant from Farmers Insurance and help from Donors Choose to make provide her class with Chromebooks. This is the first year that her students will be able to take Chromebooks home.

McElroy said having the Chromebooks at home will make it easier for students to access class assignments at home – especially when a student is absent from school.

“Yes, Google Classroom and most of the apps can be accessed with devices that students may have at home, but with the school-issued Chromebook, students are able to easily access what we need them to and do so safely since the district has taken measures to keep our students safe while on the internet,” McElroy said.

McElroy has been using technology in her lessons for a few years, but she has prepared a digital citizenship activity for students in preparation for the Chromebooks.

Joshua Spencer, a science teacher at John W. Moore Intermediate School, has been using Chromebooks in his classroom. Spencer said having the Chromebooks will make it easier for students to access their class assignments and online textbook.

Using online programs allows students to get better practice in the classroom and receive grades more quickly, Spencer said.

Spencer said the students will have to learn responsibility to care for the Chromebooks.

“They’re going to have to learn to take care of their stuff, which is good,” Spencer said.

Spencer also said the student will also have to problem solve to fix problems when they’re at home because they won’t have a teacher around to help.

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