Manteca Unified School District made a digital leap in 2014 by launching the $30 million Going Digital program which puts the latest online technology on the fingertips of elementary and high school students. Armed with that technological power, the students will be better equipped to face the challenges of an increasingly challenging digital world in the work force and in their personal lives.
Going Digital provides a Panasonic 3E computer to every student from grades 3 to 12. The small and light but highly durable Panasonic 3E computer is specifically built as an education device and is not available for purchase on the retail market.
While parents don’t have the option to purchase the device at retail stores, they do have an opportunity to own the computer if they so desire by participating in the lease/purchase program option offered by the district. If the parents or guardians choose to sign up for four years, they will be able to buy the computer at the end of that period.
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Brief background of MUSD’s going digital
The first step in getting all campus sites in Manteca Unified wired to jump over the digital divide into the 21st century technology, older campuses in the district such as Nile Garden, New Haven and Sequoia elementary school, as well as Manteca High and Calla High schools, had to be rewired for the new technology.
Eight school sites out of the 23 campuses in the district were given priority in the electronic and cable wiring – French Camp Elementary, George Komure and Great Valley elementary in Weston Ranch, Golden West, Sequoia, and Shasta Elementary in Manteca, Lathrop Elementary on Fifth Street in Lathrop, and Manteca Day School.
Their priority selection did not have anything to do with favoritism, and everything to do with government funding that was time sensitive; use it or lose it. These school sites are part of the federal government’s E-rate program which provides discounts to projects such as Going Digital. They qualify to receive this special funding given their high percentages of free and reduced lunch to students, and also based on their locations which are demographically identified as low income. The E-rate program means the district could have up to 90 percent discounts in the purchase of network equipment as well as labor costs.
E-rate funds are derived from a portion of telephone bills that consumers pay every month.
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Investment in students and their future
The $30M Going Digital is an investment on the students and their future, district Information Technology Director Colby Clark said in an interview conducted at the beginning of the program’s implementation in 2014 starting with the electronic wiring installation at the school sites.
“Our students are in a different world than when we were in school,” he said. “The goal is to provide the district with digital infrastructure that will support 21st-century learning. It will provide teachers and students with tools to access (the) Common Core (standards) and other 21st-century educational programs.”
Manteca Unified achieved a historical record in June 2014 by becoming the first school district in the United States to be using the Cisco Nexus 9000 series switches with the successful network wiring of the Manteca Community Day School.
Nearly 40 miles of fiber optic cables were installed throughout the school district for Going Digital, with 1,600 wireless access points available.