NEWFANE — After a slight delay, the Newfane Central School District will be a one-to-one district, meaning that every student will have either an iPad or a Chromebook to use.
All of the Chromebooks and iPads are financed by the district's Smart Schools Bond Act allocation.
Superintendent Michael Baumann said at the high school every student will be issued a Chromebook and at the middle school every classroom will have a cart of Chromebooks.
One-to-one means there is enough computers for every student to have their own computer or tablet to work on.
"We won't have two kids sharing a machine anymore," Baumann said. "They won't have to take their class to a computer lab anymore."
The elementary school will be slightly different. Students in kindergarten, first grade and second grade will use iPads, and students in third and fourth grade will be using Chromebooks. Baumann observed that the usage will probably not be as "intense" as the other schools because at the elementary level children are just getting used to the technology.
Baumann said "it's really exciting" to finally have the schools be one-to-one, noting that when he came to the district four years ago it didn't even have Wi-Fi in the buildings. Last year, Wi-Fi was added to the buildings and the first set of Chromebooks was added.
"We were graduating kids who had never really used computers in school, and they were going off to college and stuff where working on a laptop or a computer is a way of life," Baumann said.
Baumann said now the district will be graduating students that are "tech savvy enough to be successful."
He added that staff had a "Google camp" this summer to figure out the Google suite of applications, and that the staff is really excited to begin using it.
There is Wi-Fi available outside of the high school for students who might need Wi-Fi after hours, Baumann added. He said the district is looking at getting mobile hot spots for students but that it's not at the point yet.
"We're waiting to see how big the lack of coverage in the community is," Baumann said. "We don't really know how many dead zones we have."
He noted that the Chromebooks the district purchased do have memory so they can save files and work offline.
Baumann wishes that the government would come in and guarantee Wi-Fi access to rural areas.
"It's time for the government to step up, and say 'you know what if you don't have it in your rural area we're going to get it for you there somehow,'" Baumann said.
Newfane had submitted its Smart Schools Bond Act application in 2017 and it wasn't approved until November 2018.
The delay even led to a statement from State Sen. Rob Ortt, R- North Tonawanda, criticized the New York State Education Department for the delay.