PSBA Bulletin May/June 2022

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T WAS DURING THE WORST DREARY DAYS OF THE PANDEMIC, and officials at the Penn Manor School District in south-central Pennsylvania had yet another unsettling decision to make about a path forward. And yet again they had to do it on the fly. The district had provided most students with laptops back in 2013, but still needed to supply them to students in grades 1-3, which involved spending $500,000 on 1,500 laptops and other hardware at a time when vendors were dealing with thousands of other districts that were also scrambling to equip students. They also had to train staff and students – and even parents – then figure out how to store and distribute the items, all while COVID peaked and restrictions for schools were perhaps the tightest. Jim Paterson is an education writer living in Lewes, DE. 16 PSBA Bulletin May/June 2022

“We were making high-stakes, strategic financial decisions in minutes and hours,” says Charlie Reisinger – director of technology for the district, which enrolls 5,400 students. When you roll out anything like this you want to be deliberate and strategic, and we were, but we had to make very rapid decisions about big tech issues. It was alien to us. Schools are not built to turn on a dime.” After huddling for a few hours, district officials purchased the laptops, and it proved to be the right decision. Although online learning was challenging for