Everett Supt. Priya Tahiliani and a host of volunteers began the massive task this week of distributing student ChromeBooks to families at the Encore Boston Harbor parking lot in anticipation of a regular online learning schedule next week.
Tahiliani said they began setting up early on Tuesday morning for the distribution, an effort that includes several volunteers.
“It will begin at 10 a.m. each day and it is done alphabetically by last name,” she said. “It’s a drive through at the parking lot across from Encore and people will pick them up so we can make sure everyone is as safe as possible. We have 10 tables set up and a lot of volunteers to help us out.”
The schedule for pick up is as follows: (alphabetically by student last name)
•A-D = Tuesday, March 31.
•E-L = Weds., April 1.
•M-Q = Thursday, April 2.
•R-Z = Friday, April 3.
The ChromeBooks are already familiar to students, as most students use them at school already, but were not allowed by school policy to take them home. So, since school shut down, the computers have been sitting in the various schools. Over the last week, the IT Department, custodial staff and building administrators have located them all, removed them from the tech carts, identified them to a student, disinfected them, and then bagged them with information and use policy guidelines.
“We set it up so it opens right up to our Everett Online Learning page,” she said.
The effort also includes home deliveries, which will take place next week and beyond. To schedule a home delivery, families can call the School Department or fill out a form on the School Department website. However, those appointments for next week have already been filled, with more than 400 requesting delivery just on Monday.
The have also purchased 2,000 new ChromeBooks as well, as they now have 5,400 Chromebooks for 7,400 students. With that expansion, the district will have quickly moved to 1-to-1 computing for every student – a goal that they hoped to accomplish over the coming years but have been forced to do now.
Tahiliani said for the first three weeks of school closure, they have been doing paper work packets or online work packets, but it hasn’t been a regular online curriculum. Starting next week, the effort will be more standardized with every teacher – along with social-emotional resources and other supports.
“Many of our teachers, however, have been up and running already,” she said. “Starting next Monday, it will be a more coordinated effort for everyone. Teachers will have at least one thing for students to do every day…It is all enrichment and it isn’t required. But we want the students to review what they learned and stay engaged with learning.”
Tahiliani thanked Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Encore Boston Harbor, all of her staff, the volunteers and others for coordinating the effort in the parking lot across from Encore.
“We had looked at a lot of areas, but that area of the City has been built to be able to handle a lot of traffic all at one time coming in and getting out,” she said. “We felt like it was an ideal location for this.”