The Quest for Better Technology


Graphic by Sophie Weir

By Mia Johnson, Reporter


Currently, six Chromebook carts circulate Cleveland for in-class use, but Principal Ayesha Freeman says that number is “not enough.” In her first year here among our 1596 students, she has noted technology as an issue she intends to change.

Considering the way Cleveland operates, Chromebooks are the easiest and most affordable means of technology to invest in. They are less expensive than Macbooks or PCs and students are constantly asked in class and for homework to use Google Drive and Classroom, which are Chrome-run programs.

Junior Malcolm Asher said, “I am very excited about this idea. With the help of more Chromebooks, information and knowledge is made so much more accessible to students. We can assess a broader range of topics in seconds compared to their textbook counterparts.”

Ideally, Freeman wants to add a total of five more Chromebook carts to the school, with access to carts for all eight learning departments and two carts for both English and Social Studies since they have higher demands.

Each cart is about $9,000 and with money for five carts plus other expenses for repairs, Freeman and the school board hope to reach about $50,000 for the fund. Freeman said, “I already have about $20,000 in my technology budget as a principal, which I’ve been holding on to, so I really need to raise about $30,000 to reach our $50,000 goal.”

One idea Freeman has in raising the money is through an exchange program the school will be hosting this winter. Freeman is excited to host students arriving from China, and hopes it will help meet the fundraising goal. Cleveland is in the process of partnering with a sister school in China in an agreement that allows 30 students to come  for two weeks in February in partnership with our Chinese immersion program. Their families will pay a tuition for them to be at Cleveland for two weeks.

“It is possible that those fees could go toward our technology budget,” Freeman said.

It is unclear at this point how much revenue this will bring in, but fundraising strategies will be reassessed once Freeman knows more details of the program. When more technology is readily available, students and teachers will be able to learn and engage in a more multifaceted way.

“It’s a balance. Part of what teachers are responsible for is to be able to use technology as an instructional tool and obviously today students are writing their essays online and teachers are using Google Classroom more and more. It’s also important that they know when to have it off and away versus when to engage in it,” Freeman said.

Sadie Adams, social studies teacher added, “I believe the number the district gave for amount spent on paper last year was around $20,000. They want us to cut this number down, but we don’t have computers as a means of doing this. I know personally if I had Chromebooks for my classes I would digitize every single one of my readings and I wouldn’t need to use paper basically ever. This way we are also saving the trees!”

With many long and busy months ahead Freeman has a positive outlook on this project and certainly won’t be giving up. She said, “I feel very confident we will be able to reach our $50,000 goal by the end of the year. Then we’ll order five new Chromebook carts this summer and next year every single department in our school building will have at least one Chromebook cart they’ll be able to share amongst the teachers that are in that department.”

So as long as you’re not a senior, you should get to be a part of Cleveland’s journey into a technological world.