MARIETTA — Cobb County School District is adding to its stockpile of computers for online learning.
On Thursday afternoon, mobility service provider Stratix delivered 750 Chromebooks to the school district’s central office. The delivery was the first load of a 2,600-Chromebook order placed by the Cobb Schools Foundation. The foundation placed the order last week in response to student demand for computers as school is held online only due to the coronavirus.
Cobb Schools Foundation Executive Director Felicia Wagner said the new Chromebooks will be distributed to schools with students in need.
“We want all students to have the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals and be successful,” Wagner said in a news release. “With Cobb students returning to school virtually this fall, we had an immediate need to get additional devices to the schools.”
Wagner said Stratix, based in Peachtree Corners, was a right fit for the foundation’s order because the company is local and had the volume of Chromebooks needed to help Cobb schools, the state’s second largest school district. Stratix chief executive officer Louis Alterman said the Chromebook delivery will connect teachers and students for remote learning.
“Educators, administrators, parents and students have a lot on their plate right now, and Stratix is simplifying remote education in a meaningful way,” Alterman said in a news release. “We manage the technology and logistics, helping schools get the most of their budgets and freeing up educators and administrative staffs to focus on doing what they do best.”
Last week during the Cobb school board meeting, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said the district had placed orders for devices, but there could be a delay in receiving them because many school districts across the country took the same steps to implement remote learning.
Through a spokesperson, Alterman said the firm has focused on education since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation, leading to a fast turnaround on the order.
“Cobb County schools was in need of finding devices ASAP to ensure students would be able to learn from home,” he said. “Stratix was able to turn around the first 750 Chromebooks of a 2,600 device order in a week.”
Cobb County School District spokesperson Eric Rauch said the order for 2,600 Chromebooks cost $800,000.
The delivery comes on the same day that CCSD announced North Metro Church donated $75,000 to the Cobb Schools Foundation. Using that funding, the foundation will purchase another 300 devices for Title I schools — institutions where at least half of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
Students who have requested a school computer coordinate pickup through their local school. According to the CCSD remote learning website, cobblearningeverywhere.com, families who need a computer or other device to participate in remote learning should reach out directly to their local school.
“The district will provide as many as we are able, though not every request can be accommodated,” the district said on its website.
During last week’s board meeting, Ragsdale said the district has received 38,657 device requests as of Wednesday, Aug. 19. By that point the district had deployed 30,314 devices, leaving about 8,000 requests still to be filled. About 6,000 of those requests came between Saturday, Aug. 15 and Wednesday, Aug. 19, Ragsdale said.
“We’re doing everything we can,” Ragsdale said at the meeting, “to get those devices in the hands of students who need them.”