By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
New Technology Arrives For 2016-17 School Year
Riverbank Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Christine Facella is delighted to introduce some new technology to the Riverbank High School students for the upcoming 2016/17 school year, with each ninth through 12th grade student receiving a Chrome Book. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The students in grades nine through 12 at Riverbank High School (RHS) will be privy to a rollout of one-to-one technology for the new 2016-17 school year. The new school year will begin Aug. 10 and all students will be assigned a Chrome Book for their own personal use at school and at home.

Riverbank Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Christine Facella is excited about the rollout of the new technology so that students in the district have every opportunity that students have in other districts.

“In order to provide all of our students with access and equity when comparing them to districts around us we knew that districts around us were going to one-to-one devices,” said Facella. “So we want to make sure our students have every benefit of education that everyone else around them has.”

All students will be able to take them home and they will be responsible for them which is why they are offering parents a low cost insurance on the Chrome Books in case of theft, damage, or loss. The parents that do not accept the insurance will be responsible for any cost incurred.

Insurance on the device will range from a maximum cost for a family of three kids or more at $45 and $15 for one student annually.

“So that is pretty reasonable for the year,” Facella noted. “We would like to get that all collected when they pick it up or sign off if they don’t want it.”

English courses at RHS for all grade levels will feature a new digital curriculum called “Study Sync” starting in August. The chrome books would make this new curriculum accessible for all students. The students will not have a book unless it is a novel that they are reading.

“We still have real reading in a real book,” expressed Facella. “For sure they will have the majority of their work on the Chrome Books.”

The Math curriculum will be digital as well for freshman and sophomores and juniors that have not passed Algebra, which means all the work will be online on the computer.

Each student will be expected to bring the Chrome Books to school every day fully charged. Currently the district is planning to have a charging station where students that did not charge their device can leave it charging at the station and sign out a loaner tablet that is to be returned later that day.

The students will be able to use Google docs, sheets, and classroom as well as browse the internet for research and download applications on the new Chrome Books.

“So what really is one of the benefits, and some of our kids have already been doing this, is sharing documents with the teachers via the internet via online and not handing in papers physically,” stated Facella. “I would say they will primarily be using Google docs and Google applications for education.”

The District has also hired an Instructional Technology Coach, Greg Diaz, to support all the teachers on the digital platform and the new technology that will be used in all the classrooms.

“His role will be working with teachers and helping them see the possibilities of the ways they can use technology in all classes,” said Facella. “The teachers at the high school have had two sessions of training on ways to utilize the devices in the classroom with students. That said, we have already been doing it in some classrooms for a couple of years.”

Teachers from each school site attended a Google training session to help prepare them for the new technology rollout.

For the Kindergarten through sixth grades they will be using a new curriculum called Benchmark Advanced that they will be able to use online or printed materials. These students will have access to Chrome Books that will be shared but they will not be able to take them home.

“The students will have access to a device every single day, all day as the teachers see fit to use it but it won’t go home and they won’t need insurance because they won’t be taking it home,” stated Facella.

The district allotted a million dollars to purchase technology and build a technology team.

For the 2017-18 school year, the district plans to have seventh and eighth graders be the next group of students to receive Chrome Books to sign out and take home, which will also offer a low cost insurance option.

“The access and equity piece for me is huge because I don’t want our kids to not have something someone else has,” explained Facella. “I want them to have every edge going forward.”

There will be a parent information night on July 28 regarding the new technology.