All Cypress students to get laptop under new $44 million plan

CYPRESS — A special called meeting last Tuesday, July 7, 2020, paved the way for a truly uninterruptible school year, at the cost of up to $44 million for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD taxpayers.

The Cypress News Review previewed this vote in this article (click to read).

School board members Tom Jackson, Julie Hinaman, Gilbert Sarabia, Debbie Blackshear, Dr. John Ogletree, Don Ryan, and Bob R. Covey voted unanimously to authorize Dr. Mark Henry, the district’s superintendent, to purchase Chromebook laptops, cellular LTE internet access and other items to get CFISD in a rare position of having a virtual connection for all students.

The multi-million dollar purchase will be through the Texas Department of Information Resources.

The school district is calling the new system “CFISD LTE 1:1”.

According to the district, the program will meet the needs of all students by providing appropriate teacher-directed instruction, including real-time live virtual instruction as outlined in the Texas Education Agency’s Strong Start 2020-21 plan.

“All of our students need quality instruction from their teachers,” said Dr. Linda Macias, CFISD chief academic officer. “While nothing can replace effective face-to-face instruction with a teacher, ensuring all students have a Chromebook and internet access will allow them to receive remote instruction that is teacher-directed and includes live virtual instruction through the CFISD Connect platform. This will allow students to be actively engaged in their learning while connecting with their teachers and classmates.”

The Chromebooks are expected to have built-in cameras, microphones and external protective cases, along with and internet access. The district also states that the devices will have accidental damage protection, along with filters to prevent accessing inappropriate content and websites. Additionally, the devices will also have tracking abilities should one become lost.

As of July 12, the new CFISD LTE 1:1 website is a placeholder page, but is expected to give families information about proper use and care of the devices.

Editor’s note: We also suggest supplementing this with the Boy Scouts of America’s Cyber Chip training, which includes the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s NetSmartz training.

Karen Smith, CFISD chief financial officer, speaks to the board of trustees about the $44 million for computers and cellular connection hot spot devices. (courtesy CFISD Communications)

“By providing a device for every student, we believe that the district is taking a significant step to ensure that our students are positioned for success,” said Karen Smith, CFISD chief financial officer. “The CFISD LTE 1:1 program ties Schoology and CFISD Connect together to complete a high quality instructional program. This program positions our students to be successful in all learning environments.”

CFISD stated the goal is to distribute devices prior to the first day of school, which is Aug. 24, 2020, but admitted that availability may ultimately determine the schedule for distribution.


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Creighton Holub

Civilian photographer and journalist turned Army public affairs operator and combat veteran turned publisher. Winner of local, regional, state and national awards in news, photography and journalism.

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