February 2019

The dramatic increase in digital devices and the Internet has provided students with continuous access to a variety of resources that allow them to create multimedia content, communicate with people from around the world, and access information instantaneously. These empowering technologies have also transformed the type and nature of work that students will do and, ultimately, will require schools to shift in ways to prepare students for this new working environment. Currently, students in Novato Unified have varying access to digital devices as part of the classroom experience.

We recognize the need for a digital transformation in our classrooms that provides our students with the skills to allow them to be a successful member of this digital, global community. Since current teaching methods are not always conducive to the effective use of technology, our teachers need focused instructional support to develop lessons that allow for the integration of technology. Our district focus on project-based learning aligns well with the implementation of student devices. Specifically, the instructional components of well-designed projects will require students to have access to the world via the internet.

NUSD just completed year two of a three-year rollout to students. In August of 2019, we will complete the rollout to students in grade 3,6, and 9 so that all students in grade 3-12 will have Chromebooks.

The Chromebook travels with the student to be used at school, home, and anywhere else learning may occur. Instead of requiring these devices to be returned at the end of the school year, we are allowing students to keep the same Chromebook over the summer and ultimately until they leave the school in 8th and 12th grades respectively.

We believe that this is important to combat “summer slide” – the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. We also think that it will encourage students to have a more personal connection with their device, building a sense of responsibility and ownership that will result in better care of the devices.

It is important to note that the Chromebook is still school property and all existing rules and damage policies will continue to apply. Chromebooks are to be kept, used, and stored safely at home and the student is responsible for bringing them back in August in good working condition. Should you decide to opt-out of this opportunity, please have your child return the Chromebook to the library before the last day of school. It will be re-issued to them in the fall.

The District believes there is tremendous value in allowing the devices to go home with students. It enables 24/7 learning without borders or boundaries, effectively extending the school day and encouraging students to develop a love of learning. Although some of the activities and topics that students pursue may not be directly linked to classroom activities, they can still be beneficial by developing students’ ability to locate information, evaluate it, synthesize it, and communicate with others. This plan will further support those goals, both at our schools and beyond.

Logistics of Device Rollout:

Rationale for Grade Level Choice:

The first wave of device roll-out will occur at the 5th, 6th and 9th grade levels. There are two reasons for these grade levels for the roll-out. First, the pilot focused on both 5th and 6th grade level which ensures that there is a teacher from each one of the school sites at this grade level that can serve as a mentor for other teachers integrating the technology into their classroom. Secondly, the three year rollout plan will look as follows:

YearGrade device distributionAll included Grades
9th, 11th
4th, 5th
6th, 7th
9th, 10th, 11th
3rd, 4th, 5th
6th, 7th, 8th
9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

*K-2 will continue to work with class sets of iPads, Chromebooks and other technology. The district recognizes that the younger students do not need the same access to technology and would certainly struggle with taking the devices home and back.