Staff Report

Students at Buellton’s Jonata Middle School have 48 new Google Chromebooks to use in their schoolwork thanks to a recent delivery from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation.

The donation, valued at more than $13,000, was the fulfillment of a grant request made by the school, which submitted an application through the tribe’s Technology in Schools Program for the 2018-2019 school year.

Principal Hans Rheinschild said he made the request as part of Jonata Middle School’s push to put a laptop in the hands of all 180 students.

“The ultimate goal of our school is to get us to a 1-to-1 ratio of students to devices,” Rheinschild said. “We’re currently at 2-to-1, so getting this donation brings us a lot closer to 1-to-1. The key was also to get Chromebooks because we like the Google platform for education. Getting additional devices is always great, but getting Chromebooks, specifically, is going to help us access a lot of new educational tools.”

The tribe’s Technology in Schools Program allows school administrators and faculty to apply for technology grants to fund specific projects. With schools struggling to keep their equipment and software up to date, finding additional resources to pay for new technology can be difficult for local schools.

“This donation means our students get to work on the newest and best equipment, so they’re going to be on the cutting edge of what’s out there,” Rheinschild said. “It definitely revitalizes us.”

Marie Chavis, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher and lead tech at Jonata Middle School, said a donation of 48 Chromebooks will have a positive impact on students who wouldn’t normally have access to computer equipment.

“Sometimes, students have to share laptops in the classroom, but the bigger issue is the kids that don’t have technology at home, because so much of the new curriculum is tech-driven,” she said. “Being able to reach our 1-to-1 goal will ensure they have the access they need.”

Other Technology in Schools Program grant recipients for the 2018-2019 school year are Clarence Ruth and Buena Vista elementary schools in Lompoc and the Carpinteria Unified School District.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $25 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation.