NEW BREMEN — The New Bremen Board of Education heard about a project that will put a Chromebook in the hands of all fifth to 12th grade students over the next few years during its regular monthly meeting last week.
Brian Puthoff, director of technology, said they were starting with all students in the fifth and ninth grades this next school year with the purchase of 150 Chromebooks. This allows spares in case of damage.
It was estimated each Chromebook would cost $270 and would include a case and license. There would be a $50 student activity fee.
Each year, more Chromebooks would be purchased and put in the hands of other grades.
Puthoff said the students will be working with their assigned individual Chromebooks both at home and in school. He said they knew this expanded technology was coming, so over the years had added more bandwidth in the school building.
Puthoff said that the Chromebooks are advantageous in many ways. They automatically connect to the internet and documents are saved to the Cloud. He said teachers can lead activities in the classroom with each student working at his own pace.
Also, since the student takes his Chromebook from classroom to classroom, continuity is supported. He said cost savings include much less need for carts of laptops and iPads as well as less need for material supplies such as paper.
Some board members questioned how this will work for students who do not have access to WiFi at home. Puthoff said in those circumstances, they will work with each student to find a way to allow them to connect, such as creating temporary hot spots with a smart phone.
Puthoff said K-12 teachers will receive training on April 18 and again in August.
In other technology news, Puthoff said that his department was preparing an Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation grant application for extra safety equipment in the high school. A 3-to-1 match will be needed.
The equipment to be sought includes more cameras and the use of key fobs to allow people in and out of the junior and high school buildings. He said the OBWC had a $1 billion surplus after finding they were charging incorrectly.
Superintendent Jason Schrader updated the board about the current bidding process for the new elementary school to be built next to the current junior and senior high school buildings. The project is currently out for bids and expected to cost $20 million. Bids are due back the end of February.
Schrader said prospective contractors had been doing tours of the site. He said that groundbreaking for the new elementary school will be March 28, at 1 p.m. Depending on the weather, the event may be outside or in the gym.
Schrader reported that the roof over the junior high gym would need $2,900 worth of repair. The board also heard about the purchase of a new gas bus in the 2019/2020 school year.
The superintendent gave the board a report showing how valuations for property in Auglaize County were reported up by 1.6 percent by the county auditor in 2018.
According to Schrader, the New Bremen Education Foundation’s 2019 Fund Drive had begun. He said last year the 2018 fund provided $88,270 toward 85 scholarships for seniors.
Donations to the fund can be made online at www.newbremenfoundation.org/donate-now or by checks made payable to the New Bremen Foundation and mailed to PO Box 97, New Bremen, OH 45869.
Questions can be directed to Anna Rammel, foundation coordinator at email@example.com or 419-629-9260.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.