Past, Present, Future
In the fall of 2005, Kent School District opened the Kent Technology Academy (KTA), a small school housed on the Mill Creek Middle School campus. This academy was designed to be a proof-of-concept school as KSD implemented its first One-to-One laptop program. With three teachers and 90 seventh grade students, the program demonstrated that students in a technology-rich environment could produce amazing results. The academy doubled in its second year to include six teachers and 180 students. With its enrollment based on an application-lottery system, the demographic of the students in the academy was a mirror of the district as a whole.
The successes at KTA led to the expansion of the initiative in the fall of 2007 to the Kent-Meridian Technology Academy (KMTA), a high school program residing on the Kent-Meridian High School campus. Students work in small learning communities for their core classes while participating in electives and PE/Health with the greater school population. Extra-curricular activities are also open to all students. The staff members at these small schools laid critical groundwork with respect to curriculum, equipment and best practices while collecting lessons-learned to aid in expanding the program. KMTA and KTA has grown to add grade levels and teaching staff until reaching its current status: 15 teachers and 500 students in grades 7-12. The program’s staff members have been trained in project-based learning, 21st Century Skills, and best practices integrating technology. The students and teachers in both academies are also a vital part of our new technology adoption process and participate as field testers for cutting-edge tools.
Kent School District’s IT department has been an integral part of the success of the One-to-One Laptop Initiative. The networking and infrastructure teams have worked to maintain a comprehensive wireless network that can support this expansion while balancing density and coverage to ensure an excellent user experience. Meanwhile, a district-wide support model for professional development was created to help teachers refine their teaching practices to align with and take advantage of a One-to-One classroom. KSD teachers have access to eLearning (Canvas), our district-adopted learning management system, and ClassPolicy as a classroom monitoring and student engagement tool.
After an outside research company conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the initial programs, the Kent School District Board of Directors endorsed the expansion of this initiative to all secondary students. The expansion began with seventh graders in the fall of 2008. Currently, Kent School District’s six middle schools, four compulsory high schools, two high school academies, five elementary schools, and two technology academies each participate in the One-to-One Laptop Initiative, which includes approximately 15,000 students in grades K through 12. Funded directly from technology levy dollars, this program has been approved to extend to the elementary level so that every student K-6 has access to a personally assigned device by 2019.
Our teachers, students, families, and community members have been very supportive of this implementation. In 2009, middle school teachers completed a survey and responded overwhelmingly that the increased access to technology tools had a positive impact on their classrooms. The community support alone, made possible by the passing of three consecutive technology levies, shows that our community sees the unquestionable results of this program.
Kent School District’s One-to-One Laptop Program has been highlighted by several major organizations. As an education partner with Microsoft, KSD receives visitors from all over the world. In 2008, Kent School District was selected as a technology showcase site for the National School Board Association. During that conference, teachers, administrators, and school board members from around the nation saw firsthand the difference that technology makes in our schools. Also in 2008, KSD’s IT department was honored with a laureate award from The ComputerWorld Honors Program for its work sustaining a technology-rich environment.
If you would like to see the amazing changes that are happening in our classrooms, you can attend our annual Kent Technology Expo, where teachers and students share projects, presentations, and hands-on displays about the use of technology in their education. Also included in the event are local businesses and organizations who demonstrate the use of technology in their own fields. This event includes students in all grade levels and is attended by thousands of community members!"Students are able to learn professional level program application while improving responsibility." – Mr. Christopher Louck
“The kids who used to check out before the tardy bell finished ringing now arrive early, ready to work knowing that they get to use laptops to demonstrate what they’ve learning. Consequently, student grades skyrocketed during our first laptop writing workshop unit!” – Ms. Cindy Higgins“It’s like having an entire library of my own.” – Ben
"It makes learning fun!" – Cecilia
"Laptops help save paper. You don’t have to print something small and waste paper if it is something that you can get on your computer." – Aleks
"You can conveniently find information without having to go to the library." – Andrew
"It helps me stay organized. Before, I would lose my work and couldn’t keep track of my notes. Now, I can find everything easily, and my grades are better." – Charlie
"I think I’ve learned more since I started using a laptop. I can do more things with a simple assignment." – Brandon
"It has made me a better writer!" – Jackie