LT makes switch to 1:1 laptop policy

All students will have access to their own Chromebook for 2021-2022 school year


Demonstration of 1:1 laptop use (Schultz/LION).

Sophia Schultz, News Editor

Beginning at the start of the 2021-2022 school year, LT will institute a 1:1 laptop policy, meaning that every student will bring their own Chromebook, loaned out by LT, to and from school each day. 

“I’m excited that all LT students will have convenient and consistent access to modern, relevant and dynamic educational materials, as well as to a variety of tools that support students’ personal learning styles,” director of technology Ed Tennant said. 

The school originally planned to administer the 1:1 policy only at South Campus for the 2021-2022 school year, and then the following year, they would include North Campus as well, Tennant said. However, the increased demand for technology and the limited access some families had to computers propelled the transition. 

“Last year, when we were all sent home in March and had to start starting this journey of remote learning, we loaned out nearly 400 devices,” Tennant said. “We had prepped over 1,000, not knowing what kind of demand we were going to have immediately and as it turns out, we have now, through this part of this school year, loaned out more than 1000 devices to students to be able to complete their school work from home or in school, however they’re choosing to participate in hybrid learning.”

The increase in technology use in education due to the COVID-19 pandemic has also allowed the LT staff to become more comfortable with the tools available on the internet, director of curriculum and instruction Scott Eggerding said. 

“Two years ago, we weren’t using Google so that’s been a major shift, and the more teachers that have figured out how to use Google Docs and share documents and all those other tools, the more it’s opened up collaboration opportunities and ways for students to survive the pandemic,” Eggerding said. “Even so, I would say we are a little late coming to that, but we’re at a point where our teachers are ready for it in a way they never had been before.” 

In order to execute the 1:1 policy in a much shorter window of time than planned, the administration had to accelerate improvements to its network operations and spend a lot more money at one time than they had planned originally, Tennant said.

The decision to accelerate the timetable for 1:1 resulted in the spending of an extra $1 million in this year’s budget,” Tennnant said.

Over winter break, a new fiber optic backbone was installed at both campuses, interconnecting all the wiring closets back to the core of the network.

“That ended up being one of those projects that actually worked out very well in the district’s favor because there were some true economies of scale by having both campuses done in one project, instead of spreading those projects out over multiple years,” Tennant said.

Since every student will have a computer with them at school, there will no longer be a need for a drop-in lab, Eggerding said.

“The library will be more like the Discovery Center,” Eggerding said. “It’ll be more of the place where you go to get tech help. It’ll be the place where you go to deal with your passwords, and there is actually going to be a help desk for students in both libraries.”

The rooms that are currently identified as the Discovery Centers at both campuses will be occupied by LT’s publications, digital art classes, aviation, engineering, and design classes who regularly use high-end Adobe software or other applications that cannot be accessed on a Chromebook, Eggerding said. This decision was made due to the fact that both Discovery Centers have desktop computers that can better run advanced software.

Families will have to pay a computer fee of $150 each year per student, Tennant said. For the students whose families can’t afford a laptop in the fall, the school will pay the fee for them using grant money. Students and their families will not have the ability to opt out of the program or forgo the computer fee to use a personal computer. Through the use of district-provided devices, the school can ensure that students will have access to the resources needed for their courses without all the variables that arise when everyone is using something different. 

“We are excited about the impact a 1:1 device distribution plan will have on our students beginning next school year,” principal Brian Waterman said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated how we use technology in education, and implementing this plan is a natural progression for LTHS.”