District prepares for iPad rollout

Washougal School District teachers participate in an iPad training last week. The training is a part of the district’s iPad rollout for seventh- and eighth-graders, which will begin in the fall.

This fall, more than 1,000 students in the Washougal School District will have their own iPads.

The tablet rollout this year will cost approximately $280,000, which is being supported through a combination of a technology levy and currucilum budget funds. It covers the iPads, charging carts, covers and training for staff.

Currently, students in fifth and sixth grades have iPads. The roll-out this fall will extend that to grades 7 and 8 as well for a one device per student ratio.

“Districtwide, we continue to see high levels of student interest and engagement in lessons designed using the iPads,” said Lester Brown, technology director. “The data from our initial pilot showed increases in student test scores in math, science and reading using the state test as the benchmark.”

Staff iPad training sessions for were held Aug. 5 and 6, with 17 attending the first day and 20 the second.

Most were middle school teachers, but a few high school teachers and special eductation staff from the elementary grade levels participated as well.

With the addition of iPads at the middle school level, there will be approximately 1,200 in circulation througout the district.

An iPad pilot began in the fall of 2012 with 90 fifth-grade students. It was expanded during the 2013-14 school year to include fifth- and sixth-grade students as well.

“We are starting our second year of the full project, where all students in each grade have the devices,” Brown said. “We don’t have state test data yet for last year’s students.

“Staff are generally excited about the change and the opportunities for new lessons that this presents, but some have shared that there is a lot to learn.”

There will continue to be device rollouts each year for the next four years as the district expands the technology initiative to all grades, Brown added.

The funding for future years will come from the technology levy approved by voters in February 2014. It begins in January 2015 after the current levy expires and continues for three years.