The Frankfort Independent Schools board Monday unanimously approved a new technology plan.
The plan, which is effective through June 2021, updates the district's technology plan that was created in 2015. Superintendent Houston Barber said the plan can be "adjustable over time" and he encouraged board members to continue giving feedback on it.
"It's one of the best plans that I've seen in my career here in terms of investment and what we have to do," Barber told board members.
According to the current copy of the technology plan, the previous plan met some of its goals, like moving toward a one-to-one ratio of students and devices and establishing Student Technology Leadership Programs in each school. Some of the goals not achieved were to have a school-based technology support coordinator at each school to assist with technology initiatives and create an Information Support and Services pathway at the Franklin County Technical Center.
The board previously heard about the technology plan at its May 29 meeting. District Technology Coordinator and Network Manager Jonathan Jones presented the plan and was at the most recent board meeting to answer questions.
The plan was based on the Kentucky Education Technology System's master plan, which is under the Kentucky Department of Education. The state's plan covers six years, 2018 to 2024, and encourages the use of technology in Kentucky kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms.
The FIS plan focuses on four major areas, as determined from informal and formal meetings of the technology planning committee:
- Robust infrastructure, or creating an environment that can better offer ease of access and reliability to digital resources for a connected and accessible learning environment
- Personalized professional learning, which means improving and implementing initiatives that will empower and motivate staff while maximizing instruction time for enhanced personalized learning
- Data and Privacy, or encouraging awareness of data privacy for a secure learning environment for students, parents, faculty and staff
- Budget and resources, which encompasses using appropriate measures of fiscal accountability and sustainability to ensure the district's EdTech program, which is an ethical practice to using technology that supports education, can keep up with a changing learningland scape while providing digital equity for all students as well as having enough resources and capacity in place to meet the district's needs
The technology plan spans about 14 front-and-back pages and outlines many ways FIS can meet its goals. One goal is to offer Wi-Fi on school buses. For the next school year, Wi-Fi will be on one school district bus and then reviewed again by the district before being expanded to other school buses. The plan said that funding, about $1,500, for this initiative is anticipated to come from Title I funds.
At the May 29 meeting, Jones said the idea of putting Wi-Fi on buses was aimed toward students who may be traveling to away athletic contests or on school trips and have to get homework done. He also said the internet will be filtered to keep students on educational websites. Board Chair Jina Greathouse said at that meeting that this was something FIS had explored in the past but did not ultimately implement.
The plan also briefly discusses the district's goal of achieving a one-to-one ratio of students and devices. Beginning in May, the district began distributing Google Chromebooks to fifth and ninth grade students. The students will have the devices for four years, and seniors will have the option to buy their device from the district when they graduate. The program is funded through KETS and general and local funds, according to the plan, and will cost about $30,000 depending on enrollment numbers. Teacher devices will also be replaced on a five-year rotation using Chrome devices and Windows devices when needed.