Weekly roundup: Irvine’s Chromebook program, OC Pathways Showcase, new science standards and more

Along with bolstering its technology infrastructure, the Irvine Unified School District has increased the number of computers available for student use from 7,500 to more than 34,000 over the past five years. And now a new district initiative is allowing many Irvine classrooms to have a laptop for every student.

A news graphicAbout 170 educators have enrolled in IUSD’s one-to-one Chromebook program, signing on for two workshops to learn how best to incorporate the devices into their lessons, according to this story in the Orange County RegisterThe district’s 14-member EdTech team is overseeing the project — along with other efforts to help local educators make the most of emerging technologies.

“It’s not even about the devices at that point,” EdTech Director Serena McKinney told the Register. “It’s more about the way and how they’re appropriately used to meet the needs of these students.”

And here are some other education news stories from the week ending Dec. 1:

  • A second-grader from El Cerrito Elementary in the La Habra City School District will help Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s first lady light the Capitol Christmas Tree in Sacramento on Dec. 7. Sofia Garcia, who has been diagnosed with autism, will represent more than 300,000 people with disabilities who receive support from state and nonprofit developmental centers.
  • The city of Westminster has announced plans to build a bike path honoring the historic Mendez v. Westminster decision that ended school segregation in California and paved the way for the landmark Brown v. Board ruling in 1954.
  • Laguna Beach Unified has contracted with a Montreal-based company to offer students at Thurston Middle and Laguna Beach High schools free online tutoring any time of the day, for one year. The district is believed to be the first to test the program.
  • California’s new science standards are being hailed as more fun and engaging in the classroom, but they’re also leading to higher out-of-pocket costs for teachers, who often must crack open their own wallets for extras like robotics and chemicals.
  • The El Toro High Annual Canned Food Drive set another school record, with students and staff collecting 116,657 cans of food during a two-week stretch in November.
  • RIFSoCal is asking for cash donations by Jan. 31 as part of its drive to purchase 38,000 books for children throughout Orange County. Each book will also count toward OCDE’s One Billion Acts of Kindness initiative.
  • California’s graduation rate rose for the seventh straight year in 2016, surpassing 83 percent, but the state will have to do more to improve college readiness. A new report suggests that less than a third of high school freshmen will go on to earn their bachelor’s degrees.
For more news about O.C. schools and education issues, bookmark newsroom.ocde.us — and be sure to subscribe for updates.