Eastpointe school board approves Chromebook carts purchase

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 30, 2023

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EASTPOINTE — A total of 35 Chromebook carts are on order for Eastpointe High School, and as soon as they arrive, each classroom at EHS will get one.

At the Sept. 25 Eastpointe Community Schools Board of Education meeting, the school board voted 7-0 to purchase the Chromebook carts for the high school.

“The carts will stay in the classrooms. The (Chromebooks) will get checked out as the students come into the classroom and then returned at the end of the class,” district Technology & School Safety Coordinator Danny Laethem said at the meeting. “The teachers and students will obviously monitor what’s in the cart. That should help reduce both device breakage and lost devices.”

The Chromebooks are charged when on the cart. A Chromebook, similar to a laptop computer, is designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents existing in what is known as the “cloud.” The Chromebooks are used as another tool for learning, research projects and daily assignments. Students can view text, photos, videos and more on the devices.

“This will allow us to meet that goal of placing a cart in each classroom so it’s available for the students to go along with the new curriculum that we are rolling out across the district,” Laethem said. “The cart gets stored in the classrooms. It’s secured with padlocks. The back of the carts are also locked so that no cables come up missing.”

The district provided Chromebooks to its high school students to use at home when classes went virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic. The students were required to return the devices to the high school when the district returned to in-person learning.

When students had the Chromebooks in their possession, educators experienced issues with loss and breakage of devices, uncharged Chromebooks, and students leaving devices at home. Currently, the students do not have their own Chromebooks assigned to them. They use different ones per classroom. If a student needs a Chromebook after school, they will still be able to check one out from the media center, “so they have a device at home should they need one,” Laethem said.

During the meeting, district Assistant Superintendent Stephanie Fleming commented on the purchase recommendation.

“We currently do have carts in our schools. We don’t have one per classroom, so this would be an increase to allow teachers to have a cart for every single classroom,” she said. “This ensures that they’re charged. If they break, we have spares on hand that we can swap out.

“We’re also inventorying everything. When kids can check them out, then we’re better able to monitor and make sure that the devices they are checking out are actually working and that they’re not at home broken,” Fleming said. “This removes those barriers and our teachers are able to then have quality, good access to technology to be able to deliver the curriculum. Our kids are going to have access to those things as well every day when they come in.”

During the pandemic, the district provided Chromebooks as needed to students in grades 3-12 while the K-2 students used iPads.

The total purchase of the Chromebook carts for the high school cost $37,100 from Sehi Computer Products Inc., in Rochester Hills. School officials used ESSER III funds for the purchase of the carts. The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds — two under President Donald Trump and a third under President Joe Biden — were federal funds distributed to assist public schools across the state with funding that was lost during the pandemic.