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Distributing Devices — Chromebooks in the Hands of SMS Students

Distributing Devices — Chromebooks in the Hands of SMS Students

When Sycamore Community School District 427 had to transition to remote learning in March of 2020, Director of Technology Roxanne Horton saw an immediate need to place Chromebooks in the hands of Sycamore Middle School (SMS) students. High school students already had Chromebooks in their possession, and elementary students would receive class materials through their families. The District felt that middle school students needed a device to learn from home more easily.

Chromebooks from the elementary schools were collected and brought to SMS for students to use while they learned from home. However, this was only a temporary fix to the solution, so more Chromebooks were ordered — set to arrive by the beginning of the next school year.

“It was disheartening to receive the phone call from our vendor that the delivery date [for the Chromebooks] was pushed back due to the company not being able to produce the parts needed for the Chromebooks,” said Horton. This would not be the first such phone call Horton would receive from the vendor.

After initially being pushed back to October 2020, the delivery date was pushed back a second time to November 2020 and a third time to January 2021. However, this time, the date was set in stone: Wednesday, January 27, 2021. This was exactly the news the District had been waiting to hear! There was a rush of excitement and anticipation as the District waited to receive the delivery.

The Office of Technology unloading a pallet of Chromebooks from the delivery truck at SMS.

Receiving the delivery was the first step — there was still much work to be done. “Before we could distribute them, we had to unbox, label, put into inventory, and snap on covers for each Chromebook,” explained Horton. With only three days to prepare 883 Chromebooks for distribution, it was all hands on deck for the office of technology. Fast forward to Monday, February 1, 2021, all 883 Chromebooks were organized and ready to go. Hybrid A students lined up to exchange their current Chromebooks for the new ones. 

Student picking up new Chromebook from a table filled with alphabetized Chromebooks for students.

“The Chromebook distribution was very successful! The office of technology worked so hard to plan an organized and efficient system to get kids new devices while in attendance, and it lined up perfectly with our picture day. Remote students were able to come in after school hours, have their picture taken, and receive their new Chromebook in about 10 minutes,” said SMS Assistant Principal Sarah Frankiewicz.

Distributing the new Chromebooks at SMS was a success. Now, the District awaits one more delivery: touchscreen Chromebooks for kindergarten and first grade students. The delivery date for these devices is currently set to be within the next couple of months. Of course, as the District has learned, there is always the possibility of the delivery date being pushed back. When the touchscreen Chromebooks are delivered, the office of technology will be ready to distribute them to students swiftly and efficiently.