CCSD-Issued Individual Laptops Bring Opportunity, Concern


Annabelle Crouch

Many teachers expect students to bring their district-issued laptop to class every day. This new asset could help ensure that every student has equal access to online school resources.

Annabelle Crouch, Staff Writer

Creek students were shocked at check-in this year as they were each met with their own laptop and charging cord.

The district provided all students, elementary through high school, with a school-issued computer. The youngest students at each level received the newest laptops as the plan is that they will keep that laptop for the rest of their career at the school. The budget for this initiative came from federal funding and a mill levy, money from local taxes, as each device cost between 300 and 400 dollars.

In 2019 the idea of 1:1 technology, 1 computer per student, was introduced to the Cherry Creek School District. As a global pandemic struck the world, the district was forced to expedite their journey to accessible online schooling for everyone, as they distributed computers to all students in the 2021-22 school year.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Cherry Creek Schools in 2020, the district was quick to respond by providing computers to students who needed them. However, the conversation did not begin then; the district held a forum in 2019, pre-pandemic, and the community agreed to encourage the distribution of technology to each student.

Jason Koenig, who has served as chief information and technology officer for eight years, worked very closely with the 1:1 initiative and emphasized the way covid impacted the mission.

“We had an opportunity to jump into the one to one, but do it really really fast,” Koenig said.

There are several purposes behind the initiative such as the replacement of textbooks, access to online learning, and standardized testing. This is also in response to the modern, fast moving technological world, or as assistant principal Darren Knox calls it the district’s “future forward initiative.”

Access to a computer to themselves is extremely exciting for many students, however, a few concerns are rising.

While Principal Ryan Silva appreciates the value of the initiative, he is aware there are some concerns. He is looking at how some families are criticizing the initiative.

“For some families, they’re upset,” Silva said. “Because it’s like, wait, you just put this device in my kids hands, we have limitations on technology in our house.”

He deems this a fair criticism and describes how the district encourages principals to reach out to address some of the concerns.

He has also analyzed the concern of technological problems. If a student has a problem with their school computer then they should bring the computer and the charging cord to the tech center behind the library in IC. There are currently around 40 loaner computers, however, the school hopes to expand their tech center and resources.

Students also weigh in on the issue as they express concerns of differences in softwares that they are comfortable with. Junior Gabby Derre emphasizes how she prefers to use her own laptop as she is more comfortable with the software.

“It’s a different brand, so I know how to use their software better than I know how to use the schools,” Derre said.

Different opinions are expressed throughout the school as some students really value the initiative, including freshman Kingsley Woodruff who said she “really appreciated” the school’s gesture to distribute computers as an equalizer.

Now that the students have received the computers, the next challenge may be ensuring that students are bringing the school issued laptops. As some students prefer their own computers, every one bringing their school computer could have major benefits.

“Say you have one of the district devices, but other kids are bringing in Mac book pros. It doesn’t look so good, it doesn’t feel so good,” said Koenig. “So then you stop bringing your device in because you don’t want to be labeled as that kid.”

He emphasizes the impact this may have on students’ education if they feel their computer does not compare to others. He encourages students to bring the school issued computers to school in order to level the playing field.

Another asset of 1:1 technology at Creek is that it can replace textbooks so students are always up to date. Installing the new edition of a textbook is far more efficient than purchasing new paper copies. The new laptops may also be beneficial if school has to transition to online learning again. Ryan Silva, Jason Koenig, and Darren Knox all reinforce how important the computers are for standardized testing.

The pace the district was forced to distribute the computers at was uncomfortable according to Koenig.

“We’re going to have some bumps in the road,” Koenig said. However, this is still an impressive feat for the Cherry Creek School District as they had only 6 weeks to organize around 56,000 devices.