District-Wide Chromebook Initiative
In May of 2020, the Board of Education approved a 1:1 plan that will make a Chromebook computer available to every KCS student in Grades K-12, starting in August.
This initiative was made possible by federal funding provided through the CARES Act, and will enable teachers to enhance their instruction through the use of technology. By making computers available to every student, we believe the district will have more flexibility to continue teaching during unusual circumstances, such as a weather event or a closure due to illness. Equally important, we believe that even during normal operations the availability of Chromebooks will provide new learning opportunities and prepare students to succeed in a world where technology plays such an important role.
Chromebook registration forms and insurance forms are now available online, and paper forms will be available at schools beginning on July 24. Please note that these forms require a student number (which begins with an "S"). If you do not know your student’s number, login to the Aspen portal or call the school. Once the forms are submitted to the student’s base school, the school will contact them with details about how and when the devices will be distributed.
For additional information, please see the "Frequently Asked Questions" document below.
In order to best use your laptop, it is very important that your home has access to the internet by the start of school in August. More information about internet availability, including a phone number for assisting families with accessing affordable internet services at home, is available on the flyer below.
Stay Up To Date
As we prepare to distribute Chromebooks, KCS wants to make sure families get the information they need. One way to do that is by updating your email address in Aspen.
Here’s how to do it:
- After logging in to Aspen, click on your (parent) name at the top right, and choose “Set Preferences” from the drop-down menu.
- In the pop-up box, click the “Security” tab at the top.
- Make sure your email address is up-to-date, and add an alternate email if necessary.
For all other changes, including an update to your phone number, please contact your school office. If you’re not getting text messages from School Messenger, you can also text the word YES to 67587.
Questions and Answers
What electronic device will be provided under this initiative?
The district will provide touch-screen Chromebooks for students in grades K-2, and standard Chromebooks for students in grades 3-12.
When will students receive their device? How do students receive a device if they’re utilizing the virtual option?
Chromebook registration forms and insurance forms are now available, and printed copies will be available at schools beginning on July 24. Once the forms are submitted, each student’s base school will contact them with details about how and when the devices will be distributed.
Will there be any cost for families to participate in this program?
All devices will be provided free of charge, but families will be given the option to buy insurance for $30.
Where can families submit payment for the insurance?
Families can visit SchoolCashOnline to pay the insurance fee online. You may also submit a check, made payable to "Knox County Schools Device Insurance", to P.O. Box 314, Knoxville, TN 37901.
Is assistance available for families who can’t afford Chromebook insurance?
Once families have completed the device registration form and insurance form, the district will provide a notification if they are eligible for an insurance subsidy. All families who receive free and reduced-price meals qualify for the subsidy. Families can visit LunchApplication.com to apply for free and reduced-price meals.
How are parents charged for repairs if they do not have the insurance?
If repairs are needed, parents will be provided with a schedule of costs. Typical repairs range from $30-$80 and will be charged as a fine if the parent did not purchase insurance. A total loss of the device will result in a charge of $200.
Will there be parent training and workshops?
The district will provide tutorial videos and guides, and schools will provide specific training for any technologies that are school-specific.
Will there be any training for younger students who have never used a computer keyboard?
The plan calls for deployment of touch-screen Chromebooks for grades K-2, because that device has a “tablet” mode that does not require keyboard skills.
How will the district prevent students from accessing inappropriate material on their device?
The district will issue clear policies about acceptable use and parents will need to sign, indicating their agreement. There will be filtering software that will prevent students from accessing inappropriate or harmful content in most cases. However, no software is foolproof.
I’m concerned about the effects of screen time on my child. How will the district ensure that students aren’t spending too much time on devices?
Technology in the classroom is a tool for a teacher to enhance their teaching. KCS does not believe traditional teaching techniques and activities should be replaced by screen time. During a “normal schedule”, teachers will have the autonomy to develop their classroom model and determine what percentage of a student’s learning will be online and what will be face-to-face.
We also believe students need to learn from an early age about usage and time management of technology in the learning environment. We are encouraging teachers to talk with families about the importance of managing screen time for students.
If a student already owns their own device, could it be used instead?
The district will not allow students to use their own device instead of one issued by the district. Allowing students to use their own devices at school raises concerns about security and appropriate usage. With district-managed devices, we can limit access and monitor content in a way that would not be possible on student-owned devices.
Will students be able to take the devices home after school?
Under normal circumstances, the district will give flexibility to school administration regarding device usage, including whether devices can go home with students.
Will students be able to use the devices for non-school activities? For social media, video games, or movies?
The device is being provided to students for educational uses. Access to internet sites should mirror access while in the school setting, which is subject to the district’s Acceptable Use policy and content filtering restrictions.
Will students be able to download programs such as Grammarly or Photoshop to help with their assignments?
In general, software cannot be downloaded onto the Chromebook. District or school subscriptions will be available if the software is web-based.
How will families access tech support?
Technicians will respond based on tickets submitted by a school staff member. Each school will have surplus Chromebooks that can be swapped out quickly, allowing students to continue work by simply logging in to a new device. Extended hours of Help Desk support will be available during the months of August and September.
Is there a troubleshooting document that provides assistance with common problems?
A troubleshooting document is being developed to cover basic questions.
What if my family doesn’t have access to WiFi or internet service?
In order to best use your Chromebook, it is very important that your home has access to the internet by the start of school in August. A customer service line for assisting families with accessing affordable internet services at home will be available on July 20.
What if I need to submit paper copies of the device registration and device insurance forms?
While we prefer for you to fill out the registration and insurance forms electronically, we do have a paper form option as well.
» Registration Form (pdf) » Insurance Form (pdf)