Whatever it takes: How this district pivoted with the pandemic

A tech director discusses how his 1-to-1 district did whatever it could to ensure students had access to devices and hotspots—and what the fall might hold

When speaking with Andrew Wallace, Director of Technology, South Portland Maine Schools, two classic marketing slogans come to mind: “Think Different” and “Just Do It.”

Whether it is getting Chromebooks and hotspots to students in need, supporting faculty in the move to remote learning, or just giving students a sense of comfort, he and his district, which includes a pre-k center, five elementary schools, two middle schools, and South Portland High School, are making up new rules as they go along in this pandemic era. Below are some highlights.

Related content: How this district became closer by being apart

eSN: Maine has always been at the forefront of the 1-to-1 movement so can we assume that the transition to remote wasn’t too painful?

AW: We’ve been doing 1-to-1 in Maine since 2003 at a couple of grade levels. And most school districts in Maine expanded it upward from grades seven through 12. And then a lot of them are now slowly creeping down through the elementary schools. So in my district, we’ve been 1-to-1 with iPads, grades six through 12 since the iPad came out—we were one of the first iPad 1-to-1 schools. And then we have been backfilling with Chromebooks that stay in the classroom. So we felt pretty good.

Kevin Hogan

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