The finances behind 1:1
Every student will walk into school this year equipped with a brand new 13-inch MacBook Air courtesy of the WHS 1:1 Learning Initiative.
So how, you might ask, can WHS afford to buy 870 state-of-the-art laptops? According to Director of Technology Leisha Simon, WHS is leasing the machines over the next four years, making the price more reasonable.
The total cost for leasing the laptops was approximately $240,000 per year, excluding the cost of professional development and other expenses.
Superintendent Paul Stein and the technology task force, which includes community members and technology specialists of Wayland, recommended the 1:1 initiative be implemented this fall. The school committee approved their request.
“They felt that this was something that WHS should support to further enhance the teaching and learning of our students,” said school committee member Barbara Fletcher.
Funding for the venture became possible after the School Committee proposed augmenting the school budget at a town meeting last spring. Residents voted in favor, and the money was used toward the school’s technology operating budget, a branch of the overall school budget, which is provided for by Wayland taxpayers.
Simon explained that the most difficult aspect of getting funding for the 1:1 initiative was getting students and parents on board. To gain support for the initiative, it was necessary to help the community understand why the school should provide every student with the same machine instead of allowing students to bring their own computers from home.
“If students brought in computers with different operating systems, we would spend a lot of time troubleshooting how to get different versions of applications to work as opposed to just focusing, opening them and using them,” said technology specialist Mary Barber.
Simon feels that the initiative, a vision she has tried to develop for the past four years, will prove itself effective as the school year progresses.
“I think it’s extremely important for our students today to learn new skills, so I think it’s going to improve the educational landscape tremendously for the students. It’s going to prepare them better for college and for work beyond high school,” said Simon.