North High to implement 1:1 technology by end of the 2017-18 school year

Dominick Bartels, News Writer

Students at Omaha North High Magnet School will each be getting their own laptops under the proposed one to one technology. Despite many delays, the plan is on track to be approved and implemented by the end of the 2017/2018 school year.

The one to one Request for Proposal, RFP, was first brought up in the fall of 2016. At that time, it was supposed to be approved during the 2016/2017 school year. However, the combination of legal issues with the Board of Education and the vendors of the devices has delayed the project.

The project was further delayed with the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education tied up with the superintendent search, so the RFP was pushed to the back of the agenda. All in all, the proposal was delayed about eight months.

Gene Haynes, principal at North High, assures that the proposal is back on track and should “be enacted within the 2017/2018 school year.”

“The current plans are for North to move to a one to one sometime first semester of the 2017-18 school year,” said  Rich Molettiere, director of technology at North High. “Yes, we should have been there earlier but unexpected delays with approving the legal contract lead to multiple delays.”

The project will end up costing near $4,000,000. Since this project is so expensive, the district must make sure it will fulfill the needs of the students and not waste tax dollars.

“When you are dealing with a $4,000,000 contract, every paragraph receives close attention,” Molettiere said.

The one to one proposal would equip each student at Omaha North High with an HP Stream Laptop and update many of the computers in classrooms.

Parents and guardians must sign a liability waiver before the student can receive the laptop. Loss or damage to the computer, not at the fault of the student, will be covered by insurance.

“We do not wish to have a kid that is at a disadvantage where he or she cannot study or get their assignment completed because of a hiccup with the loss of their computer,” Haynes said.

Students from disadvantaged homes without Wi-Fi will still receive computers. However, Haynes stated that he will ask supporters such as the Urban League of Nebraska and Boys and Girls Club to work with these families to get them internet access.

“We do not wish to prepare our young people for failure because of their financial stability.” Haynes said, “We want to give every young person the ‘tools in their tool box’ to be a success.”