4/19/2013 1:59:00 PM iPads to extend through 12th grade
By David Richards
While the saying "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks," is used most often in the summer, it partially will apply to Byron schools this fall.
At its regular meeting April 15 held at the high school, the Byron school board unanimously approved to extend its seventh grade iPad program to all students in seventh through 12th grades beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.
As a result, the move will reduce, at least in some fashion, the need for school books.
"It will make backpacks much lighter," said Jen Walsh, business manager for Byron Public Schools.
How much the books will be reduced will be decided by staff at a later date.
School officials say the two-year pilot project includes the distribution of 825 iPad 2 tablets to the students in grades 7 through 12. Students would use these devices during the school day and be allowed to take them home. Intensive job-embedded staff development would be provided, and the project would be evaluated yearly for effectiveness and recommendations made for continuation or modification.
At the board meeting, superintendent Jeff Elstad stated that as part of the proposal, there are potentially three options for parents when it comes to obtaining the iPad for their students.
One option is to do a lease each year with Apple and the district, where the tablet would be provided by the district and then be turned in each year. The district would require a $40 yearly insurance fee from parents ($35 for those eligible for reduced lunch, $30 for those eligible for free lunch).
Another option would be to "Invest for Learning" where parents can partner with the district 50/50, lease the device for $121 per year for two years and then be able to purchase the iPad for $20 at the end of the lease.
The last option would be for students to use their own iPads, with the district in return supplying each tablet with $50 in applications.
At this point, all three options could be offered, but the district hasn't made a final decision on that point yet.
Board member Paul Daley inquired about informational meetings for parents, and Elstad said those should start around May.
"Maybe the parents could help decide which option would fit them?" he said.
"I think we should explore some more and get some feedback."