Various Kansas school districts ahead of Lawrence in student-device ratios

The Lawrence school district has been discussing plans to move to a 1-to-1 student-to-device ratio at the middle school level, but that step is behind some other districts in the state, according to a new survey.

As reliance on technology for classwork and homework increases, so has the need to measure at what level school districts are providing such resources for their students. A “digital learning” survey to do just that was launched by the Kansas State Department of Education in December.

Though data is not available for all 286 districts in Kansas in order to make an overall comparison, the data does give more of an idea than before of what access to technology looks like in other districts in the state.

The survey was sent to technology coordinators at districts statewide, and responses were received from about 100 of the 286 school districts, according to a press release from KSDE.

One of the areas asked about were school districts’ student-to-device ratios, which are getting more attention as reliance on online resources for classwork and homework increases.

Of the districts that responded, about 78 percent had implemented a 1-to-1 student-to-device ratio. Another 11 percent were at the same stage as the Lawrence district, and indicated that they were planning a future 1-to-1 initiative. About 9 percent said they had no plans for such an initiative.

Again, without the survey being mandatory for all districts to complete, it’s impossible to say exactly where the Lawrence district lies, but the numbers indicate that, in the very least, about a quarter of the districts in the state have already gone 1-to-1 (that is assuming that none of the districts who didn’t respond to the survey have implemented a 1-to-1 ratio).

The survey questions covered four subjects: E-Rate (a federal program that provides discounts on high-speed Internet access and telecommunications in eligible schools and libraries), broadband, technology and digital learning. All the data collected via the survey is available on the KSDE website.

Members of the school board will vote at their next regular meeting — the date of which is not finalized, but will probably be March 21 — whether to approve a recommendation to implement a 1-to-1 iPad-to-student ratio at the district’s four middle schools next school year.

In other news and notes:

Sunflower Elementary School will have its Box Top Store on Tuesday morning. The students can use “Box Tops for Education” to purchase items from a school store from 8:20 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.

Liberty Memorial Central Middle School will have a winter play “teaser” from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Free State High School will have an orchestra concert at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.