De Smet Goes One-to-One in Fourth-Eighth Grades

DeSmet School District equipped students with critical thinking and technology skills by rolling out a one-to-one laptop initiative for their middle school and fourth and fifth grade students this year.

“Our goal is to enable teachers to deliver more personalized content to students, to boost students’ technology skills and to empower children to do more complex and creative work,” Superintendent Abi Van Regenmorter said.

More than 60 middle school students and 30 in the fourth and fifth grades benefitted from the laptop initiative, which was funded through local capital and general tax dollars, as well as teachers, who have been excited to see the increase of engagement with their students.

As a district we have provided them with opportunities for professional development and some training along the way for moving forward with the initiative,” Middle and High School Principal Mike Warne said. “The reaction of the staff has been pretty good.”

“We dispersed the laptops to the (middle school) students on one of the first mornings back in session after Christmas Break and some of the staff members were utilizing them in classrooms in the afternoon of the same day.”

The students were excited to have more access to technology as the fifth grade class connected with a class in Texas to share learning and projects with one another and used Google Hangout to discuss a novel and learn about one another.

These opportunities provide students at the fourth and fifth grade and middle school levels the chance to gain skills necessary to promote growth in utilizing technology to make them successful in a high school and post-secondary institution setting, along with skills necessary to function in a workplace setting with technology.

We hope that students having access to technology and materials for their classes at school and at home will increase their knowledge and understanding of the concepts that they are learning,” Warne said.