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High School Students in Santa Maria Going ‘High Tec’ with New Tablets

Students of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District will go “High Tec” this week with Dell Venue Pro tablets.

On Tuesday, administrators at Pioneer Valley, Ernest Righetti and Santa Maria high schools distributed about 5,400 tablets, which are equipped with Absolute Computrace Software, a tracking device.

“Technology and Internet resources are indispensable tools for the modern learner,’’ Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction John Davis said. “We are excited to provide a new level of access and opportunity for our students.’’

Letters about the deployment and Student Tablet Use Policy have been sent to parents and guardians. The insurance and "digital citizenship" forms were given to the students to take home. Site principals also made "all-call” recordings to student homes and parent and guardian cell phone numbers.

According to Director of Information Systems Lawrence Dragan, district IT technicians will be available to answer questions students may have, and technical support services are planned during the year.

The lion’s share of the student tablets was paid for by Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) funds, though about $200,000 came from from Common Core funds. The total cost is about $2.2 million, according to Yolanda Ortiz, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

Next year, incoming freshman will receive about 2,000 of the tablets as part of the distribution cycle.

In January, teachers were issued the same new technology to familiarize themselves with the basic functionality, to investigate possible classroom applications and to engage in professional development.

—Kenny Klein is a public information officer for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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