Passaic City Public Schools and Samsung Electronics America, Inc., today announced the deployment of Samsung's Chromebook 550 to all district students across grades 7 though 12 in a 1:1 computing program. In a phased deployment, Passaic City Public Schools is rolling out 5,000 of the thin-client laptop devices that operate on Google’s Chrome operating system, making it one of the largest K-12 Chromebook deployments in the United States.
“This 1:1 initiative with Samsung Chromebooks is the culmination of many years of planning aimed at realizing our goal of narrowing the digital divide for our student population,” said Passaic City Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Lawrence Everett. “With access to Samsung Chromebooks every day and all day at school, and also in their homes from later this year, Passaic students will now have much greater opportunities to obtain the 21st century skills that are so essential to success once they graduate and enter the workforce or college.”
Passaic City Public Schools is an urban district with 14,500 students located in northern New Jersey just 12 miles from New York City. Almost all of the students in the district qualify for free and reduced lunch, and district surveys have found that up to 50 percent lack access to the Internet at home, far below state and national averages.
The newest Samsung Chromebook is priced at $249. For an additional one-time fee of $30 per device, Google provides schools with the ability to remotely manage users, apps, and policies across the entire fleet of devices via a web-based console, as well as 24/7 support directly from Google.
“In the past, if you were to deploy 5,000 laptops, you’d have to image them, keep all software updated and perform maintenance on a regular basis, putting a significant strain on IT resources,” said Joshua Koen, Director of Information Technology for Passaic City Schools. “With the Samsung Chromebooks, when we want to deploy a new app or update, we just add it to the management console and it applies to all 5,000. The bottom line is, this massive deployment would simply not have been possible for Passaic City Schools with any other device.”
In preparation for the deployment, Passaic City Schools has also undertaken an overhaul of its infrastructure, making Wi-Fi available for the first time throughout all its 16 schools. From fall 2013, students will also be able to take their Chromebooks home each day and the district has plans to install directional access points on the roofs of its school buildings to provide Internet for students who lack broadband at home.