Bring Your Own Device program gets staff, student approval

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — Everything related to technology in the district is running smoothly, according to the St. Joseph school district’s technology director.

Bryan Parsons gave board members his annual technology plan Monday night at E.P. Clarke Elementary during a SJPS study session.

His presentation included an update on the implementation of the Bring Your Own Device program, which began the first day of school this year. The BYOD program is the next step from the One-to-One computer initiative at Upton Middle School, which is supported by the St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation. The One-to-One initiative gives sixth-graders laptops to use through middle school, with a chance to buy them for high school.

Parsons said the BYOD program was created to be the continuation of the skills middle school students learned on integrating technology with their education, by allowing them to use their laptop or other device in class in high school.

The district started discussing the program in 2013.

Parsons said it was always the intention for the One-to-One initiative to teach students enough about technology to feed into the BYOD program when they entered high school.

“I’m very happy, the results have been better than I have imagined,” Parsons said in relations to the surveys they sent out on the new program. “It’s been accepted by the teachers and students. The staff has been great about it. We’re blessed to have an incredible infrastructure to support it.”

Parsons said there is a daily average of 1,600 users on the wireless network at the high school. That number is large due to multiple devices being used for the school’s network.

Odds and ends

Parsons told board members the launch of the new website was completed in June this year and has been well received by users. The site’s integration and launch was done by a Benton Harbor web hosting company called Working Zombie Studios.

Parsons said he and his team will develop a training packet that can be used by new staff members. The technology department also plans on forming a new committee to identify the needs at the district’s elementary schools.

“We spend a lot of time at the high school and Upton,” Parsons said. “I’m excited about this. It’s starting now.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Nov. 3, 2015)


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