Dist 117 to Distribute Chromebooks to Students in Need Ahead of Remote Learning

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 2, 2020 at 6:39pm

Jacksonville School District 117 is making Chromebooks available to students in need as the district prepares for E-learning on Monday.

Chromebooks will be available at four district school locations tomorrow and Monday.

District Superintendent Steve Ptacek says the Chromebooks are only for students who do not have an internet accessible device at home.

Our classrooms are going to primarily using Google Classroom. So any laptop, Surface, P.C., will work as long as they install Chrome, because Google Classroom has to work through Google Chrome instead of Explorer or Firefox.

Also many of our younger students would be fine with using an iPad or tablet, as long as they are using the Google Classroom app. I’m going to send that information out as well. I think a lot of people may have thought that they had to come get a Chromebook to be able to be involved in our remote learning plan, but that’s not the case.”

Ptacek says parents who have multiple children and only one device will also be able to be issued a district Chromebook, if they have concerns that their students would have to share during the time they would all be working.

Ptacek says that the district is also taking steps to help those students who do not have internet access at home.

As part of the announcement I have also sent out some internet service provider options. AT&T and Mediacom have some first couple of months free options that they can provide, if they contact the phone numbers that we have provided.

And we are setting up a fundraising account with the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation for people to donate money, to help pay for some of the internet services for individuals that cannot afford them at this time.”

Ptacek says that the Remote Learning Plan will start very slow, with the understanding that students may not have accessibility or a device, and in order to measure how much can be given to students without overwhelming them at this time.

Ptacek says that there will be guidelines for checking out the Chromebooks.

The students are going to need to accompany the parent. Just so that we know that we are actually issuing it to a student. We don’t want to just be issuing taxpayer Chromebooks without understanding that that is a parent or guardian of a student.

If for some reason a student cannot attend, I’m asking the parents to contact their principals though email, and the principals will set something up with those parents.”

Chromebooks will be available for distribution at the following times and locations.

Friday 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Jacksonville Middle School and 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at Washington Elementary.

Monday 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Murrayville / Woodson Elementary and 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary.

More information is available on the Jacksonville District 117 website as well as Steve Ptacek’s Facebook page complete with a distribution schedule and video explaining the Remote Learning Program.

Information on donating to the internet fund though the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation can also be found on the district website at jsd117.org or by calling 217-243-9411

Ptacek also says that unfortunately, the district has canceled the JHS Prom for this year following the announcement of the extension of school closing through the month of April.