In November 2014, New York’s $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA) was approved by voters. On Monday, June 4, Governor Cuomo’s office announced that another $34 million of the SSBA was approved for schools.
The intention of the SSBA is to provide school districts with funding for new educational technology and infrastructure improvements to enhance learning opportunities for all students across the state. Thus far, the Guilderland Central School District, through SSBA funds, has made significant improvements to security cameras and wireless access at Guilderland High School. This most recently approved project provides $531,447 to the district for three critical improvements for student access and integration of technology:
1. Engaged Learning Initiative
The majority of the funding, $498,723, will go towards buying and updating equipment to implement a a one-to-one model (1:1), in which school-owned devices are loaned to all students in grades 5-12. Starting in grade 6, through grade 12, students will receive a Chromebook for use in all classes as well as at home. This initiative will ensure equitable access to technology for all students, both in-school and out.
2. Farnsworth Middle School Digital Broadcast and Media Program
At the start of every school day, FMS students broadcast their own morning news to their school community. Using $32,724 of the allocated funds, the broadcast studio equipment, which is in dire need of updating, will be upgraded to current industry standards.
3. Connectivity upgrades
Connectivity upgrades include updating district-wide servers and switches, to support the above (1 and 2) improvements.
The District’s Technology Department will be scheduling multiple opportunities for staff professional development, as well as learning opportunities for both parents and students. More information will be posted to the district website when it becomes available.