Illinois district partners to provide laptops to students

Mendon’s Community Unit School District No. 4 (CUSD #4) Superintendent Diane Robertson today announced a three-year partnership with the education and technology company Pearson that will put laptops in the hands of its students, providing online learning, progress monitoring, and assessment to personalize instruction for each child.

The initiative will begin this coming school year as high school freshmen and sophomores trade in their English and Math textbooks for Apple MacBook laptops purchased by the district. Students will then access Pearson’s online comprehensive mathematics and literature programs — engineered for one-to-one classroom environments — that will guide each student with research-based content aligned to the new Common Core State Standards.

“Today marks a paradigm shift for CUSD #4,” said Superintendent Robertson. “The incredible advancements in technology have now made it possible for us to offer our students their own personalized learning paths to prepare them for success in school and in life. Pearson has harnessed all of the technology components that will provide us a single source solution, and is offering our district this unprecedented educational opportunity. Now is the right time for us to make this move and ensure that we give every student the best opportunity we can to be prepared for their futures in the 21st century workforce.”

The initiative with Pearson will integrate the district’s existing PowerSchool student management system with its sister program PowerSchool/Studio Edition to create a connected learning environment that aligns existing student data reporting requirements with the new integrated course management system. With data collected through this system, educators can recommend precise content to remediate or accelerate learning, and students can actively take control of their own learning and view their performance progress and achievement.

Drossos said that Pearson will be on-the-ground side-by-side in the district throughout the project and will provide professional development for teachers and administrators on implementing the curriculum programs and new technology components.

“This cutting-edge project will truly transform the way our teachers teach and the way our students learn,” said Superintendent Robertson. “One of the most promising aspects of this initiative is that it levels the playing field for students who do not have access to technology at home.”

Robertson said the second year of the project would extend the program to all high school students in all subject areas, with grades seven and eight receiving their laptops in year three. Fifth and sixth grades would join the project in either year three or later.

Community Unit School District No. 4 is a consolidated PreK-12 rural school district located in West Central Illinois which serves 714 students.