Dual-funded BYOD gives Orono Public Schools an affordable and sustainable 1:1 device solution
The Orono Public School District has a student
population of over 2,800 students across four K-12
school buildings. Located in the West-Metro area of Minneapolis,
MN, Orono is on a mission to personalize learning for the
unlimited success of their students.
Orono takes a multi-pronged approach to this mission,
with a key component being their commitment to giving
students and teachers access to cutting-edge educational
tools. Implementing a BYOD or 1:1 student device program was
a top priority. The challenges standing in their way were many,
but the tenacity of the technology committee was greater.
Developing a student device strategy from scratch
was to be a serious undertaking for the Orono technology
committee. They were faced with the challenge of developing
a solution that provided:
- Financial sustainability over the long-term
for the school district and their families
- Flexible device assortment at a range of price points
- Streamlined Google Apps For Education programming
- Requirement of students to have a device for school
-Penny Pease, Technology Integration Coordinator,
Orono Public Schools
The committee knew they couldn't afford
to purchase a device for every student,
so a district-owned and funded 1:1 program
was off the table. They also knew requiring
families to purchase devices wasn't financially
viable for some of their families, so a traditional
BYOD program wouldn't work either. Teachers
also would have struggled to teach to a wide variety
of operating systems
During almost two years of research
and planning, the committee contacted
Edina Public Schools (EPS) in Minnesota
to learn about their student device program.
As one of the first schools in the country to
implement a dual-funded BYOD program, the conversation
they had with Tim Berndt, EPS Instructional Technology
Specialist, was one of the most valuable to their research process.
Once Orono discovered the dual-funded BYOD
program Edina Public Schools had implemented
with Best Buy Education, they knew they'd found
the exact kind of program they'd been searching for.
Led by Penny Pease, Orono's Technology Integration Coordinator,
the technology committee worked directly with Dave Donarski,
National Account Manager at Best Buy Education. Dave helped
the committee understand
all their options, and make decisions for
their own dualfunded BYOD program that met
the needs of both the district and their families.
For example, with Dave's help the committee
decided they needed student devices, in-school
technology support, and a way to recycle old equipment.
The committee chose an assortment of five devices that
ranged from under $100 to almost $1,000. The devices
included Acer and Dell Chromebooks, Asus 2-in-1 laptop,
Toshiba laptop and a MacBook Air. The savings provided
through the dual-funded option also enabled the district
to provide devices to families that couldn't afford a device,
or that chose not to purchase devices
In addition to solving all four challenges listed above,
Orono's unique solution included a few add-ons
- In-school Geek Squad® tech support twice per week for
any student device (not just BYOD devices)
- Tech trade-in program that gave Orono credit toward
their BYOD devices, and provided responsible recycling
for their old tech
- A custom, co-branded self-service website for families
to choose and order their device
Continued support from their Best Buy Education® Account Manager
To ensure that the program implementation was
easy to understand and inclusive, Orono created a
communication plan that used e-mails, direct mailers,
videos, and parent meetings attended by their Best Buy
Education Account Manager to walk everyone through the solution.
The process itself looks like this:
- Custom e-procurement site was created for Orono PS
- Families are given a voucher to shop devices on the site
- Once the voucher code is entered, the discounted price
of the device is reflected
Families pay the balance
delivers the devices to the school and hands
them out to the families on a designated evening
The original plan was to roll out the program
in phases over the course of three years, starting
with the ninth grade. Orono teachers expressed an urgency
to get the devices in their classrooms faster, so the committee
worked with Dave to redesign the plan within the flexibility
of a dual-funded BYOD program, to have a two-year roll-out instead.
To help support the influx of new devices into the schools,
Orono decided to add a Geek Squad Services package to their solution.
Agents provide on-campus device support in both the middle and high
schools based on the times and days that work best for their population
throughout the year. They perform level-1 technical support on any device
for which the students and faculty need assistance.
-Cindy Conger, Gifted and Talented Teacher, Orono Public Schools
Long Term Relationship
Since Orono Public Schools launched their dual-funded BYOD
initiative in 2015, the faculty have gone on to share their
stories about how technology has transformed the way their
students learn and teachers teach in a series of videos.
Penny Pease has partnered with Best Buy Education® on multiple
occasions to share the process and success of her program through
webinars, podcasts and tradeshow presentations.
Dave Donarski and other Best Buy Education® staff
continue to support Orono Public Schools as student
devices are integrated into the school day and the schools'
network infrastructure. The flexible Services relationship with
Geek Squad® will continue for as long as Orono needs it.
The goal of having a continuing relationship
with the schools we serve is to ensure that technology
becomes a seamless, supported component of the school
day for our customers. Best Buy Education® doesn't
sell boxes of products, we help schools develop long-term
solutions to the technology challenges they face today,
and will face in the years to come.