Tapping Into Tech: Simi Schools Move Forward with Tech Improvements

Crestview Elementary School's Computer Lab
Crestview Elementary School’s Computer Lab

Back-to-school isn’t just about students returning to the classroom. It’s also about the teachers and staff who work at the schools. This year, all of Simi Valley Unified School District’s teachers and school-site staff will receive technology upgrades, as promised by Measure C4, the 2004 school bond that included technology and campus improvements.

This almost-completed first phase of the District’s $7.8 million Technology Plan has seen the following changes and improvements, with most of these happening over the last two months:

  • New computer lab and administrative computers (1,277 total) are installed;
  • Teachers, counselors, assistant principal and principals have all received new laptop computers (760 total);
  • 826 existing computers have been upgraded with Windows and Google Chrome and are in the process of being installed in elementary schools;
  • Every Simi campus has been been switched from the Novell network to Microsoft Active Directory;
  • About 1,625 outdated computers have been removed from the schools;
  • 14 elementary campuses are receiving computer lab upgrades, including network wiring and electrical;
  • 603 computers are being installed at elementary computer labs; and
  • New computer tables are being installed at every school site.

Along with these changes, the District is developing board policies around the use of portable computing devices (laptops, tablets, iPads). Last spring, 40 teachers from throughout the District participated in an ongoing pilot program using iPads and Chrome tablets in their classrooms. This 1-to-1 program was developed to help the District determine how these devices are best used in the educational process, and no one has a stronger voice in this than the teachers teaching with the devices and the students learning with them. Almost 2,000 devices were distributed to classrooms throughout the District at all grade levels and subjects. The information gathered as a result of the 1-to-1 Pilot is being evaluated and will be used to determine the next steps.

All of these efforts are part of the District’s three-phase Technology Improvement Plan that was approved by the SVUSD Board of Trustees in May 2013. The goal is to make our District campuses “Schools of Tomorrow,” where the technology brought into our schools remains relevant and sustainable while best serving our students and staff.

 

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