The Fort Madison School District is moving ahead with a plan to get new technology in the hands of its students.
Superintendent Ken Marang says the school board has committed $150,000/year for the next five years to purchase Chromebooks, which are light-weight, Google-based laptop computers.
Marang says this fall, the computers will be given to 1st, 5th & 9th graders, "then those kids will move up a year, next year, and we will purchase more of those Chromebooks the next year for the same grades."
Marang says the process will repeat itself each year until every grade has access.
The computers will be purchased this summer and there will be extensive training before the students can take them home.
Marang says several teachers have been using the devices for a few years to determine the best methods for utilizing them in the classroom.
Meanwhile, the district is taking a different approach to expanding services for the youngest students.
Superintendent Ken Marang says the district plans to offer preschool this fall, but not directly through the district.
He says Fort Madison will partner with 2-3 existing preschools.
"The money would flow through us from the state," says Marang. "We would kind of oversee, making sure they had a proper facility, a proper licensed teacher. That is about the extent of what we would be doing."
Marang says the district is working on contracts with the participating preschools. He says they will be reviewed and approved by the school board at a future meeting.
Marang believes there will be enough space to accommodate Fort Madison’s preschool age children during the first year without a new provider opening.