Greater Clark Schools attempt to go paperless - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Greater Clark Schools attempt to go paperless

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A school without paper seems nearly impossible -- but as a new year begins, one southern Indiana school district is trying to make it happen. 

Grant Evans stood in a long line of students at Jeffersonville High School orientation where this year the first thing to figure out is -- what's a Chromebook?  Andy Melin, Superintendent for Greater Clark County Schools, explains:  "I can put out homework electronically and students can answer electronically and teachers can grade them electronically."

"I like it," Evans says, "because it's turning into the new technology age."

The Greater Clark School District is handing out thin laptop-like computers to every student in third through 12 grades.  The district is investing $1 million in a partnership with Google to run education-driven apps.

The schools will also use a system called My Big Campus -- a network learning device kind of like Facebook for school.

History teacher Larissa Williams uses it to build quizzes online:  "Even I'm a little intimidated, even though I'm excited, but you have to be reminded of what your purpose is, student learning, student achievement, and if this is what we have to do to meet students where they are, then this is what has to be done."

Her old assignments now sit on a pile on the floor.  "I'm so excited I don't even want to see the copy room anymore," Williams said.

Melin added, "It is my hope that over a three-year period of time if you and I sit down again, that we will be virtually paperless in Greater Clark Schools."

That means homework, handouts, and letters home will all be online.  Parents will have access to see what's going on in their children's classrooms daily, but some still have their reservations, like parent Janel Ridick:  "I'm not really sure how much the school system is going to be linking to my child outside of school. I don't like that."

Counselors and other faculty members are training up to the last minute.  With classes starting Thursday, Williams says it will be a history-making year.  "This is going to completely flip the way I teach," she says.

School leaders say all online activity from these computers will be heavily monitored.  Students and parents went home with a stack of paperwork full of policies.

The computers are insured for accidents and for $12 students can purchase an additional policy for theft.

The Chromebooks are $360 a piece.

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