LB Schools Launch Chromebook Initiative

The Long Beach Public Schools have begun the initial phases of a 1:1 Chromebook initiative, thanks to the assistance of a grant secured by Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky. The recently acquired funding covered the expenses of 139 devices that are part of a larger-scoped plan to expand technological resources throughout the district.

Assemblyman Kaminsky, a longtime Long Beach resident and graduate of the district, paid a visit to Long Beach High School on Jan. 8 to witness the Chromebooks being put to good use. Students in the library were eager to discuss and share the many ways in which the devices support their assignments and their ability to work together and stay organized.

“I would like to thank Mr. Kaminsky,” said Superintendent of Schools David Weiss. “He was able to get us an additional $50,000 in state aid, and that is going to jump-start our Chromebook initiative so that wherever students go, they will have additional resources.”

The initiative is ultimately being carried out under the Smart Schools Bond Act, which was approved by New York State in 2014. School districts are required to submit plans to the state government’s Smart Schools Commission in order to be considered for funding to invest in technology.  
Over the next few months, staff members will attend training sessions through Stony Brook University to ensure a smooth introduction and integration of the Chromebooks into all subject areas and curricula. Distribution of the devices to students will begin at the secondary level this spring, with implementation continuing into the 2016-17 school year. The eventual goal is for each student in grades 7-12 to have his or her own Chromebook for both home and school use.

While the Chromebooks present many benefits, collaboration is among the most essential. The district is already entirely wireless and equipped with its own Google Cloud, which offers a suite of applications similar to those found in Microsoft Office, as well as more advanced and innovative features. Students can use the Cloud to create blogs and websites, and components such as Google Classroom are designed to enhance learning through group conversations and the sharing of ideas.

The Chromebooks will broaden students’ opportunities to communicate, work together, brainstorm and consider different perspectives as they explore and learn. This complements the districtwide emphasis on the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile traits that are at the center of the SPIRIT and Middle Years programs, as well as the IB Diploma Program. All students will receive Long Beach Gmail accounts in order to access the Google resources.

“Students will collaborate with each other as well as their teachers, and will be able to create in a way that they’ve never created before,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Kenneth Graham.

“Being computer literate is no longer a luxury, but a necessity,” Assemblyman Kaminsky said. “Being creative with technology and using it to enhance learning experiences will be key to a student’s ability to thrive in our modern economy. I am proud to help launch the Chromebook initiative to accomplish those goals.”