When the FISD Strategic Plan committees envisioned innovative learning environments for students, providing a device for every student was part of the plan. A part of the plan that came to fruition in 2022. Enter COVID, which affected so many aspects of life, including education and the need to reimagine education. But, make no mistake, the plan for a 1:1 environment began years ago at FISD.
“We started preparing our infrastructure literally years ago. It started by making small investments over time to build the foundation of not just having devices but being able to use them in a meaningful way,” explained James Urbanczyk, FISD Technology Coordinator.
Urbanczyk said that, to date, FISD has deployed 2338 Chromebooks and 502 iPads to date, even with a worldwide device order backlog. FISD ordered 639 Chromebooks in June of this year, with a delivery date of August. However, delivery was delayed to the fall. According to Urbanczyk, TEA was able to help the district purchase an additional 700 Chromebooks and 200 iPads also scheduled to be delivered later this fall. Together, the two orders provide every child with a device and creates the inventory needed to plan for replacement in the event of damage and obsolescence.
FISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Wade gives credit for some of the success of technology integration in classrooms to teachers who led the way in the area of instructional technology by taking advantage of FISD Education Foundation grants and in-house Future Ready Teacher grants. “When we talk about innovative learning environments, we are not talking about students and teachers just having access to devices, we are really talking about how those devices help to engage students in their learning, and that takes professional learning and capacity building for all of us,” Wade shared.
With deployment close to finishing, Urbanczyk made clear that this is not the end of the initiative. “We will continuously monitor and evaluate processes by gathering input from our staff, students and parents. It’s a living, breathing project, a never-ending cycle,” he said.
Dr. Sherri Bays says that achieving the 1:1 status an entire year and a half early would not have happened without an incredible team effort. “There have been so many people involved in the success of this initiative. The FISD Technology Department and Committee have been instrumental in planning and implementation, but it also included collaboration by Teaching and Learning administrators, teachers and campus leaders to make it happen and, more importantly, make it a meaningful change for students. I am never prouder than I am when the FISD Family comes together to deliver the best possible outcome for students.”