Today the Lake Park Audubon School District in Minnesota is known for its technology, but it didn’t earn this reputation overnight. Six years ago, the 700-student district carefully planned an ambitious one-to-one initiative and worked through significant challenges along the way.
Lake Park Audubon launched a one-to-one program in 2012 to provide equity for students. A significant number of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch programs and many don’t have computers at home. The district believed that providing devices for every student—and allowing the high school students to take the devices home—would level the playing field by giving all students equal access to technology.
I served as Lake Park Audubon’s technology director from 2008 to 2017 and shepherded it through the one-to-one planning, development, and implementation. Along the way, we encountered several roadblocks: How do we pay for the devices? How do we get buy-in from the school board? Those issues have to be addressed before you can even begin to address a third question: We’ve got these devices; now what?
Here’s how we implemented our technology initiative and some advice for other districts in this position.
How to overcome financial and other obstacles to go one-to-one
Find the right partner
It is critically important to find a tech partner that can provide you with equipment as well as school-focused warranties, support, and service, all within your budget. For us, CDI Computer Dealers was a one-stop shop. It offered a leasing program, high-quality recertified devices, servers and networking equipment, and planning and implementation support.