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INFORMATIONAL LETTER:        120
POLICY CODE: IHAJ

 

TO:                  Superintendents of Schools, Principals, Business Managers, Technology Coordinators

FROM:            Susan A.  Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             April 4, 2006

SUBJECT:       Maine Learning Technology Initiative Update

The Department of Education is currently negotiating final terms and details in the Agreement for the next phase of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) with Apple Computer, Inc.  Funding for the continuation of the program is included in the recently approved State budget.  As specific details, timelines, and necessary action steps are finalized, they will be promptly distributed to you.

There are three parallel processes of which all SAUs should be aware:

1) the end of the current MLTI lease;
2) the start of the next middle school deployment;
3) the opportunity for SAUs to expand the program to students in additional grades at local expense.

1.  End of the Current MLTI Lease

The current MLTI lease will end on June 30, 2006.  Prior to that date, SAUs have required actions related to the opportunity to purchase the MLTI devices and/or the return of the MLTI devices.  SAUs may purchase some, all, or none of its current MLTI deployment for $48 per device.  In addition, SAUs will be given the opportunity to purchase devices located at SAUs that do not purchase the devices.  Detailed information and timelines are available for download at http://www.maine.gov/mlti/assets/.

2.  Start of the Next Middle School Deployment

The next MLTI middle school deployment will again include network installations and device shipments similar to the last deployment in 2002.  Specific details and timelines are dependent on final contract negotiations and will be published as soon as they are available.  All SAUs will again be asked to opt-in to the program by completing a participation form which will include the details about the program deliverables, State and local responsibilities, and timelines.  SAUs will again be asked to complete readiness checklists and surveys for network installations as well as provide access to participating middle schools in order for Apple Computer to perform the network installation and to verify that work was completed satisfactorily.  Professional development workshops will be scheduled for participating teachers, librarians, principals, and technology coordinators as well.  Finally, when laptop device deliveries occur at participating middle schools, SAUs will be required to be present to accept, inspect, and verify shipment of equipment.

3.  Opportunity for SAUs to Expand the Program to Students in Additional Grades at Local Expense

The Department intends to create a mechanism within the new MLTI Agreement to allow SAUs to leverage local funds to expand the MLTI program to students in other grade levels beyond the State funded 7th/8th grade project.  This expansion will allow SAUs to take advantage of the entire MLTI solution as provided by Apple Computer, including professional development, network installation, laptop devices, custom software image, hosted online services (email, backup and eLearning environment), technical support, and the extended four-year warranty.  Timelines for implementation of this expansion are anticipated to be similar to or identical to the middle school implementation schedule.  SAUs should expect the cost of the expansion opportunity to be at or near the State’s costs.  The Department advises SAUs to budget at least $300 per seat in preparation for this expansion.

It is expected that this mechanism will also allow SAUs to expand the device coverage to other staff within their participating middle schools, beyond those staff members included in the State funded program.

All details related to this expansion opportunity are dependent on final contract negotiations, and they will be published and provided to you as soon as they are available.

We hope that you are all planning to continue to participate in this important initiative and perhaps even to expand your participation, if feasible, to students in other grades or staff in your participating middle school in your SAU.

For more information, please contact Jeff Mao, Coordinator of Educational Technology, 207-624-6634, jeff.mao@maine.gov.