Mar 16, 2020

Latest Info for Parents about Online Learning & Blizzard Bags

Online Learning image

Pickerington Schools will continue to support student’s Chromebooks and the Every-1 Connected Program throughout the closure of our schools.

The PLSD District Office (90 N. East Street, Pickerington, Ohio, 43147) will be open for limited times throughout the next three weeks and face-to-face technical support will be available. Parents can pick up hard copies of Blizzard Bag assignments any time 24/7. Hard copies of the first two weeks of Blizzard Bags are located  in a bin just outside of the front door of the District Office. Educators are working on the third week of bags and they will be available soon.

  • Tuesday, March 31st – 8 AM – 10 AM
  • Thursday, April 2nd – 2 PM – 4 PM

Chromebooks 

We will only be replacing completely non-functional Chromebooks at this time. That means we will only swap out Chromebooks for loaners if the original Chromebook will completely not work. We are working towards a better repair system for the future if the closure lasts longer than these three weeks. 

Every-1 Connected Program (Hotspots)

Pickerington Schools is now offering a limited number of free wireless hotspot devices to students who have limited or no internet access at home. 

Every-1-Connected is a program sponsored by Pickerington Schools. It gives students with the greatest need the opportunity to borrow a free hotspot from the District Office. Hotspot forms and pickups can be done only during the times listed above at the PLSD District Office (90 N. East Street, Pickerington, Ohio, 43147)

Mobile hotspots allow free access to the internet. The devices are helpful when students know they will be working on a big assignment over a weekend or for a few days when Wi-Fi is required for completion. Multiple students can sign on to a single hotspot, so students are asked to coordinate use for group projects. 

Both the device and monthly service fees are fully paid by the district and through a grant. The program is intended to help district students access online resources at home to help bridge the digital divide and ensure educational equity.

To ensure peace of mind for parents, these devices use internet content filtering and browsing history is recorded. Only one device may be borrowed per household, but these devices can be signed out repeatedly throughout the year, based on availability.

For students to participate in this program, parents must complete this Hotspot application. By signing this form, the parent agrees to assume all responsibility for equipment checked out to the student. A replacement fee of $150 will be charged if the device is lost, damaged or not returned. The existing district Technology Protection Plan can cover the cost of any damaged hotspot devices, but damage(s) due to intentional reckless, willful, wanton and/or malicious conduct is not covered.

Steps for Obtaining a Hotspot

  1. Complete the Hotspot application and return it to your child’s media center.
  2. Applications will be approved by district Technology staff at the District Office.
  3. Students bring the device home and connect to their device.
  4. All devices must be returned before the end of the school year.

Who is eligible to participate

This program is open to Pickerington School students who are fully enrolled in one of the 15 district buildings. Priority will be given to students on the free/reduced lunch list and who have little to no household internet access. The district reserves the right to loan devices to any student who shows a need.

Is there a cost?

Borrowing a hotspot is free. There are no fees for the device or the service. If the device is lost, stolen, or damaged, a $150 fee will be charged to parents. The district Technology Protection Plan can cover any possible damages, but it will not cover the cost if the device is lost or stolen and will not cover damage(s) due to intentional reckless, willful, wanton and/or malicious conduct.

Rules of use

  • Hotspots are provided and maintained by Pickerington Schools. If problems occur while using the hotspot, contact the school’s media center for technical support.
  • The borrower is responsible for ensuring the hotspot is not damaged, lost, or stolen. The replacement cost for the hotspot is $150. The school media center specialist/aide should be notified immediately of any damaged, lost, or stolen hotspot.
  • Hotspots are provided for educational use. Users must adhere to the rules listed here, as well as those included in the district Acceptable Use Policy and the district Student Handbook.
  • Hotspots must be returned to Pickerington Schools at the end of the renewal period, upon the request of district administration, or upon withdrawal from the district.
  • Hotspots are for use by students enrolled in Pickerington Schools only and should only be used on school-issued devices.
  • Bypassing the internet filter, resetting the hotspot, or reconfiguring the hotspot is strictly prohibited and cause for immediate removal from the district’s Every-1-Connected program. This behavior also will be subject to possible school discipline.

Printing of Blizzard Bags (Preschool-4) or Other Needed Work

From the General Manager of Staples – Just wanted to offer support for any students who do not have access to a printer at home, they can stop in their local Staples in Reynoldsburg to print any hard copy assignments they may need during the school/library closures. My team is working on setting up a station to access google classrooms to allow students to print off their work in the coming weeks. We hope to take some burden off our teachers and administrators during this time in any way we can. As a parent who has students in the district, I know this is a trying time for all of us. We are here to help. There will be no charge for this service.

WIFI Assistance for Families without WIFI at Their Home

To help ease this transition and make it possible for all students to have access to WiFi, Spectrum and Comcast are now offering internet services for free or at a discounted rate for 60 days to any K-12 or college student. 

Charter-Spectrum’s Free WiFi Deal

Charter-Spectrum is offering free access to broadband and WiFi services to households with students who do not already have the services. The WiFi access will be available for 60 days to households with students from kindergarten to college who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll in the service you can call 1-844-488-8395 or click the link above to learn more. 

Comcast “Internet Essentials” Program

Comcast says applicants who qualify will get a 25 Mbps connection for free for two months. All new customers in this program will receive a free self-install kit that includes a cable modem and WiFi router. There is no term contract. Click the link above to learn more. 

PLSD Has a Digital Library for all Students

Pickerington Schools use Overdrive/Sora to extend our media centers to the digital world.  Since our schools and most public libraries are closed, we encourage our students to access the PLSD Overdrive/Sora through their Classlink page to check digital books and audiobooks. We are currently working with our media center staff to add more books to our digital library. This is available for all students grade K-12.

Hints for Getting on Classlink

Click here to sign into Classlink

Students will need to log in with their PLSD Google Account, make sure no one else is logged into Google on that browser. If you get a red Not-Connected error message that is probably the issue.  Remember students login is their PLSD email address which is firstname_lastname lastthreedigitsofID#@students.plsd.us (example: john_smith123@students.plsd.us) and their password is their student ID# + 00

If you are using an iPad you will need to download the appropriate apps:

Classlink iPad App

i-Ready iPad App

ST Math iPad App

Basic Overview about Google Classroom for Parents

Click here to view a “Parents’ Guide to Google Classroom” slide show presentation.