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Local school district expanding student access to technology

Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 @ 9:50 AM
By: Bonnie Meibers - Staff Writer

This March Northmont schools will increase the number of students assigned iPads.

The district will go almost fully one-to-one technology, meaning one technology device for each student, after previously only having it for high school students.

High school students are currently all assigned an iPad. The expansion will now include students in second grade through eighth grade.

“We’re trying to provide authentic learning experiences for our students beyond the classroom walls,” said Susanne Lintz, assistant superintendent.

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To pay for the program, Northmont will use $470,889 per year for four years of their “permanent improvement fund,” totaling almost $1.9 million.

The district will be renting the devices and at the end of the four years, will either keep the iPads or sell them back to Apple. The district is also looking at reselling some devices they already have and reducing textbook and copier costs.

“This is not going to impact the general fund, that one thing the superintendent was very adamant about,” Lintz said.

Each student, from second grade through high school seniors, will be assigned a fifth generation iPad. Teachers whose students have iPads will get an iPad, too.

“We wanted teachers to get the same experience as their students and to be able to control the classroom with Apple Classroom,” Lintz said. “iPads were the best way to go, because of the support and professional development we would get from Apple.”

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The Northmont Board of Education approved the expansion on Jan. 22.

“The district is also looking at re-assigning existing iPads to the Kleptz Early Learning Center so that even our youngest learners in grades K-1 will have access to these devices in each classroom,” said Jenny Wood, Northmont Information Officer, in a statement.

The district has been working on developing its one-to-one program since 2010, when they formed the Strategic Planning committee. This committee, made up of board of education members, parents, teachers and administrators, aimed for the district to become one student to one technology device.

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To continue this goal, a Technology Review Team was created in spring 2017 to explore devices. Lintz, who is on the team, said they visited school districts with one-to-one programs and did a lot of research on the benefits and which devices to purchase.

“As we continue to expand One to One across the district, we believe that these devices are going to enhance the high quality education that has always been a part of the Northmont experience,” Wood said in the statement.

Lintz said that overall there has been a very positive response to the announcement of the expansion.

“There’s some good buzz out there, people seem generally very excited about it,” Lintz said.