Jeffco launches TechforEd program

Beginning this August, Jeffco Schools will roll out its TechforEd program that will equip fifth and ninth graders with a new touchscreen Chromebook or iPad. Jeffco announced the 4-year program (formerly known as the 1:1 Technology Initiative) this week.

“Jeffco Public Schools is very excited to start the TechforEd program,” said Diana Wilson, communications executive director. Wilson explained that this year, fifth and ninth grade students at Jeffco’s neighborhood and option schools will receive a device they will use for the next four years.

“In a few years our district will have 1:1 learning devices for all 5-12th grade students to support our students in becoming creators with technology, not just consumers,” Wilson said.

The goal is to “create an equitable and sustainable model for technology-enabled classrooms that prepare students to thrive in a connected, digital world,” according to the district’s TechforEd website.

When will fifth & ninth grade students receive devices?

The Jeffco Schools TechforEd schedule consists of three phases of program implementation.

  • Fifth and ninth graders at 54 neighborhood and option schools will receive their new device in August 2019.
  • Phase 2 will provide devices to fifth and ninth graders at an additional 50 schools in November.
  • Students at the 15 remaining schools will receive their devices in January 2020.

A list of the schools included in each phase is included at the end of this article.

Wilson explained that the rollout provides devices to schools that already have 1:1 programs in place to prevent disruptions in instructional programming.

However, schools in the other two phases do not currently have a program, she said. Those schools will continue instruction as usual, using Chromebook carts as necessary, and then then implement the added 1:1 curriculum once devices are distributed.

The three-phase rollout also gives staff some extra training time for schools that have not had a 1:1 program, Wilson said.

High school students in 10th through 12th grades will not receive devices, nor will middle school students or students in kindergarten through fourth grade. However, this year’s fifth graders will continue to use the device they were issued through eighth grade, and ninth graders will continue using their device through high school.

The process will repeat itself for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, with incoming fifth and ninth grade students receiving new devices that they will continue using for four years. Beginning in 2020-21, students will all receive their devices at the beginning of the year, Wilson said. The implementation timeline for this year was too short to make that possible this year.

Jeffco will transition all neighborhood, option schools to TechforEd plan in the next four years

However, schools that already had a 1:1 program in place will allow students who already have devices to continue using them, Wilson said. When those students reach fifth or ninth grade, those schools will switch completely over to the TechforEd plan moving forward, she explained.

In addition, families with an incoming fifth or ninth grader who recently purchased a device through Jeffco have several options:

  • If they paid for the device in full, they may be eligible for a buy back.
  • They can give the device to a younger sibling if the school has a 1:1 program in place.
  • Or, they can simply keep the device and use it, and it will be taken off the Jeffco system.

Schools with an existing 1:1 device program for lower grades will adjust, if needed, to make sure families receive the full value of devices, Wilson said.

TechforEd Fees

Funding for Jeffco’s TechforEd program comes from two sources: the 2018 5A mill levy override and student technology fees.

Approximately 10 percent of the mill levy override was designated for technology, providing $3 million to help fund the TechforEd program. The remaining funds come from the annual student technology fee, which will be $25 for students without devices and $50 for students who receive the Chromebook or iPad.

“All tech fees will be uniform across the district – $25/year for those without a device, $50 for those with a device,” Wilson said, and no additional technology fees will be charged by any neighborhood or option school.

Specifically for the 2019-20 school year:

  • K-4th grade students’ technology fee will be $25/year.
  • Technology fees for incoming fifth and ninth grade students will be $50/year.
  • Fees for current 6th-8th grade students will be $25/year until they enter ninth grade.
  • Technology fees for current 10th-12th grade students will remain $25/year until they graduate high school.

Wilson also noted that a small number of schools may have had previous device plans that allowed parents to pay over time, and the district is currently working out ways to mitigate those situations. For example, if a student purchased a device last year as a freshman and will use the device for another three years but has only paid for half the cost thus far.

Technology fee covers only a portion of 1:1 devices

The student technology fee covers only a portion of the total cost of the devices and programming, Wilson said. For example, a Chromebook with case will cost Jeffco approximately $304, and an iPad with case will cost about $358.

In addition, there are more costs for instruction tools and programming, bandwidth, internet filtering, and additional support for troubleshooting and teacher professional development.

Families who pay the $50 fee for four years will only pay $200 of those costs.

Students will not own the devices, which must be returned to the district at the end of the four year period. However, students will be responsible for damages, and an accidental damage warranty can be purchased to cover the device.

Basic coverage for four years (allowing one warranty claim per year) is available for $48.50. Full damage coverage, with no limit on the number of claims for the four-year period will cost $83.

For more information on the program and support for families regarding cyberbullying, privacy, filtering and internet security, and screen time), visit Jeffco’s TechforEd website.

TechforEd aims to prepare students for a digital future

The 1:1 technology initiative was first implemented at some schools in 2013, Wilson said. Since then, many schools have implemented their own 1:1 technology programs. The TechforEd program will ensure that technology is available to students across the district rather than only at some schools, she explained.

Using Chromebooks and iPads supports computational thinking, project-based learning, and development and use of digital portfolios, Wilson said. In addition, the devices will provide elementary school students access to programs such as Xtra Math and similar programs to boost reading skills by identifying growth areas for students and providing instruction that targets those areas.

The TechforEd program will prepare students for careers in an increasingly digital world, according to the TechforEd website. In addition, teachers will help students learn how to use devices responsibly, and will be able to adjust and customize instruction for each student more efficiently.

Jeffco’s three-phase rollout

Phase 1

Alameda Int’l Jr/Sr High School
Arvada High School
Arvada K-8
Arvada West High School
Blue Heron Elementary School
Bradford K8 North
Bradford K8 South
Campbell Elementary School
Chatfield High School
Colorow Elementary School
Columbine High School
Columbine Hills Elementary School
Dakota Ridge Senior High School
Deane Elementary School
Devinny Elementary School
Edgewater Elementary School
Fitzmorris Elementary School
Foster Elementary School
Fremont Elementary School
Glennon Heights Elementary School
Golden High School
Green Mountain High School
Jefferson Junior/Senior High School
Kullerstrand Elementary School
Lasley Elementary School
Lawrence Elementary School
Leawood Elementary School

Little Elementary School
Lumberg Elementary School
Meiklejohn Elementary
Mitchell Elementary School
Mortensen Elementary School
Parr Elementary School
Peak Expeditionary-Pennington
Pomona High School
Ralston Elementary School
Ryan Elementary School
Secrest Elementary School
Shaffer Elementary School
Sierra Elementary School
Standley Lake High School
Stevens Elementary School
Stober Elementary School
Stony Creek Elementary School
Stott Elementary School
Swanson Elementary School
Thomson Elementary School
Three Creeks K-8
Warder Elementary School
Weber Elementary School
Welchester Elementary School
West Woods Elementary School
Wilmore Davis Elementary School
Wilmot Elementary School

Phase 2 (November rollout)

Adams Elementary School
Bear Creek High School
Bear Creek K-8 School
Belmar Elementary School
Bergen Valley Intermediate School
Coal Creek Canyon K-8 Elem School
Conifer Senior High School
Coronado Elementary School
Dutch Creek Elementary School
Eiber Elementary School
Elk Creek Elementary School
Emory Elementary
Evergreen High School
Foothills Elementary School
Governor’s Ranch Elementary School
Green Gables Elementary School
Green Mountain Elementary School
Hackberry Hill Elementary School
Hutchinson Elementary School
Kendallvue Elementary School
Kendrick Lakes Elementary School
Kyffin Elementary School
Lukas Elementary School
Maple Grove Elementary School
Marshdale Elementary School

Molholm Elementary School
Mount Carbon Elementary School
Normandy Elementary School
Parmalee Elementary School
Patterson International School
Peck Elementary School
Peiffer Elementary School
Powderhorn Elementary School
Prospect Valley Elementary School
Ralston Valley Senior High School
Red Rocks Elementary School
Rooney Ranch Elementary School
Rose Stein International Elementary
Semper Elementary School
Shelton Elementary School
South Lakewood Elementary School
Ute Meadows Elementary School
Van Arsdale Elementary School
Vanderhoof Elementary School
Vivian Elementary School
West Jefferson Elementary School
Westgate Elementary School
Westridge Elementary School
Wheat Ridge High School
Witt Elementary School

Phase 3 (January rollout)

Allendale Elementary School
Brady Exploration School
D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School
Dennison Elementary School
Fairmount Elementary School
Free Horizon Montessori
Jeffco Virtual Academy
Jefferson County Open School

Lakewood High School
Long View High School
McLain Community High School
Miller Special Education
Sheridan Green Elementary School
Slater Elementary School
Sobesky Academy

Tina Gurdikian

Tina Gurdikian

Tina Gurdikian has been a Jeffco resident since 2008, and is the parent of two Jeffco Schools students. She has a BS in Environmental Analysis and Planning with a minor in Biology. In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys fostering dogs, scuba diving, backpacking, hiking, biking, and kayaking with her family. Please visit our "About Us" page to learn more about Tina and our other writers.