CARE Grant Has Immediate Impact for Green Elementary School Fourth Graders

Michael Utsumi, Funding & Programs Coordinator
April 30, 2019

In late November 2018, the DPIE board convened for its monthly meeting. The most significant agenda item had little to do with the impending holidays. Instead, the approval of one agenda item would have a profound impact upon all 12 school sites in the district. When the moment came, the board unanimously approved a motion to award a CARE grant in the amount of $10,000 per school. The name of the grant is the acronym for the four DPIE pillars of service: Career & College Exploration, Arts Education, Resources for Educators and Education Enrichment.

The distribution of these grants occurred in the first quarter of 2019 – usually in a PFC setting. The checks were presented to the site Principal with only three conditions. The monies should be invested in tools that would benefit the greatest number of students, the purchases have a “lasting” impact, and the items touch at least one of our CARE pillars.

Last week, we had the opportunity to witness the investment in action at Green Elementary School. It was determined that the highest utilization of the grant would be the purchase of additional Chromebooks for the fourth-grade team. While Green currently employs Chromebooks, the number of devices on board did not equate to 1:1 computing in each classroom. One of the principal benefits of employing these tablets is that most applications and data reside in the cloud, rather than on the machine itself. We used our visit to Gina Hillier’s classroom to collect some feedback.

DPIE: For those unfamiliar with Chromebooks, what are the advantages of this tool – particularly in a 1:1 environment vs. sharing?

Gina Hillier: “The advantages of having a Chromebook for each student are numerous. Each student can do their own research and then compare their research with a partner and share what they've learned. During our animal reports, each student chose an animal and they had to find many interesting facts about the animal. Having their own computer, they were able to do this research in a timely manner. We came together as a class and was able to share the many facts on the same day.

Also, since we have the computers in our classroom, we don't have to interrupt another class by going into their classroom to borrow computers. Lastly, during our daily math lessons, we use the computers to help with math skills using IXL lessons. These lessons are individually created for 4th graders and the concepts we are learning in class matches an IXL lesson, so students can practice these skills.”

Students using Chrome Books

DPIE: How does the 4th grade team elect to utilize the Chromebooks? In other words, are the lesson plans similar across grade level or do the individual teachers customize the plan per classroom?

Gina Hillier: “The 4th grade team utilizes the Chromebooks for similar lessons. For example, we do biography projects, animal projects, Gold Rush projects and California State Seal projects across the grade level. We also use the computers for math lessons. Having a 1:1 Chromebook for each student helps with planning lessons, doing projects, and utilizing our time effectively.”

Students using Chrome Books

DPIE: For your students, what was their reaction to the delivery of the additional Chromebooks?

Gina Hillier: “Our students were thrilled to receive the additional computers. They were excited to see the additional container of computers arrive in our classroom and have used them with responsibility and respect every day.”

We want to express our thanks to Ms. Hillier for her insights. And to the younger students at Green Elementary – you’ll have a Chromebook waiting for you in the fourth grade.