Education: 580 Chromebooks for younger students in the Rome system. Floyd’s Volunteen program a hit with RHS students.

Education: 580 Chromebooks for younger students in the Rome system. Floyd’s Volunteen program a hit with RHS students.

Matt Stover, Rome City Schools Director of Technology and Network Services.


Rome City Schools has purchased 580 more Chromebooks for around $220,000 through the ESPLOST IV grant to expand the initial one-to-one initiative into kindergarten through first grade.

“We have always wanted to expand this initiative into kindergarten through first grade, but we knew that we wouldn’t necessarily need one Chromebook per student because a lot of the activities that these children do consist of groups,” says Rome City Schools Director of Technology and Network Services Matt Stover.  “We then decided, based on classroom numbers from July 19th, that acquiring 580 more Chromebooks would allow for 10 Chromebooks per classroom.”

The one-to-one initiative started in 2015 with the ninth grade academy—”we purchased around 500 Chromebooks, which then prompted us to work to expand the program from second grade through the 12th grade,” says Stover. “By allowing our K-1 students access to these Chromebooks, we are introducing them to this device as something they will see for years to come. It serves as sort of a stepping stone for them, especially because one-hundred percent of our testing is done online as requested by the state of Georgia.”

Said Superintendent Lou Byars: “Our IT Department with Mr. Stover has done an amazing job over the years of making sure we have a very strong infrastructure that can handle the extra devices. We are well established when it comes to our infrastructure.”

From left to right: Esha Sundrani, Guillermo Ramirez and Katherine Maslanka

One of the opportunities offered to students at Rome High School was the Volunteen Program operated through Floyd Medical Center’s Volunteer Services Department. The summer program hosts a handful of students, giving them knowledge of hospital departments and learning about the healthcare industry. RHS students who took part this year were Jennifer Chavez, Katherine Maslanka, Rupal Patel, Guillermo Ramirez and Esha Sundrani. Each was expected to attend one Lunch and Learn provided by Floyd, and complete at least 50 hours of service over a two-month period to successfully complete the program.

Carolyn Falcitelli, Director of Volunteer Services at Floyd Medical Center, said the Volunteen Program at Floyd is highly selective. “Each student must complete an application, write an essay and provide a reference to be chosen to participate in our program. We typically have about 90 applicants of which we choose 20 to 24 students to participate,” explained Falcitelli. “Once selected, the students go through an orientation (just as other volunteers and staff are required to do) which includes such things as hospital hygiene and confidentiality rules surrounding medical records and patients. Then, depending on the students’ schedules and their interests, they are matched with an assignment.”

Katherine Maslanka described her experience as one to remember. “I was assigned to the infection prevention duty and the magazine cart, as well as clinical education.During my rotation with clinical education, I assisted all of the new doctors and nurses who were going through orientation byhelping with paperwork, giving nurse awards and even booking insurance cards,” said Maslanka. “Being able to build relationships with staff members, patients and everyone in between was so important and fulfilling.”

Guillermo Ramirez served as an undercover volunteer who essentially “tracked” the nurses and doctors throughout the hospital to collect data regarding handwashing compliance. “I felt like an undercover cop; it was so much fun,” said Ramirez. “On top of infection prevention, I also rotated to central supply on the first floor where our job was to stock and restock all medical supplies that were used throughout the entire hospital,” said Ramirez. “I was able to learn things that most high school students do not get the opportunity to learn, and it was a very cool experience.”

Said Falcitelli: “Our hope is that one day, these students return to us in another role…. nurses, doctors, phlebotomists. And, maybe after many years of a fulfilling career, once again a volunteer.”

That may become a reality from some Rome students. Katherine wants to be a physician’s assistant in pediatrics.Guillermo hopes to be either a radiologist or a neurosurgeon.

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