PLAINFIELD, NJ – Students in Plainfield’s middle school and high school grades can look forward to new technology-based learning tools this fall, as the board of education voted to adopt a $2.7 million proposal from Apple to provide 5,000 iPads as part of the superintendent’s reorganization plan.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, officials presented plans for the Plainfield Learning Initiative, a 5-year lease/purchase agreement with Apple that will allow students in grades 6-12 to have access to iPads, electronic crayons, charging carts and related resources in each of their classrooms, eliminating the need to take home devices as they have in the past.
Under the agreement, the company will also provide professional learning services to 1,000 teachers in the district, including a half day of initial training before the start of the school year, and on-going mentoring and coaching in classrooms, the equivalent of at least 22 days of training, according to the proposal from the company.
“Apple understands the educational market. They were the first to bring computers to schools,” said Dr. Ronald Bolandi, Interim Superintendent of Schools, recalling the big box shaped models from the past.
While Bolandi’s long-term goal is to have the entire district use Apple products, students in grades K-5 will continue to use Chrome Books for at least the next school year because of agreements that are still in place, he said.
Every classroom in the upper grades will be equipped with enough iPads for each student to use during the day, said school officials.
For homework activities, the district is working on a plan to set up hub areas around the city such as at the Plainfield Library where students can gather to complete assignments using apps such as those offered from Discovery Education.
“There is a history of other machines going home and not coming back, and a lack of parental controls,” explained Christopher Payne, Chief Information Officer about the plan for creating hubs and limiting the use of the devices to classroom instruction. “And not all children have internet access at home,” which prevented some from completing assignments on time and other issues, he said.
“The iPads will have sturdy keyboard cases and there is no cost to replace damaged equipment,” said Payne. “There is no excuse that something is broken.”
District officials also reviewed proposals and presentations from Microsoft, Dell, and Google before submitting Apple for the board’s vote.
The Apple technology will be shipped to classrooms after August 5th in time for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
The first payment of $372,000 is due Sept. 1, in the total $2.7 million lease/purchase agreement. After five years, the district has the option to purchase any equipment that still has value or trade-in items for new models.
According to Apple’s proposal, the district will receive:
- 5000 Apple iPads with a 3-year AppleCare service plan
- 5000 Logitech Rugged Combo Keyboard Cases
- 1582 Logitech Crayons for iPad
- 400 Apple TVs
- 133 Evo Charging Carts to hold iPads
- 22 Days (minimum) of Apple Professional Learning, ongoing training and support
- Related Apple Professional Services