By Erica Thomas, managing editor
ASHVILLE — The St. Clair County Board of Education is working on a plan to bring laptops to all students. The One-to-One program would mean every student in the system would have an assigned laptop.
Superintendent Mike Howard said the system already purchased enough laptops to retrofit all high schools.
Laptops stay at the school and are available in core classrooms, libraries and some elective classes.
“During the course of the day, every student has a chance to utilize a laptop,” said Howard. “Once we’re able to complete our One-to-One initiative, then we can sit down and plan to send the laptops home every night because we are going to start looking at more digital textbooks rather than hardbound.”
The school will still offer hardbound books in the school but will not send them home.
“That’s because books cost a lot more than what we get in state funding,” Howard said. “So, you have to make some compromise and if we get the digital version, then we can put them on the laptop, send them home and have the book in a digital form.”
Howard believes the system is two years from sending laptops home with students.
“If the funding is as good next year, we are hoping to purchase enough laptops to cover middle schools, and I’m really hoping it will cover from second grade all the way through 12th grade,” said Howard.
The laptops will be insured and students will be responsible for damages or loss.
“If a kid loses a textbook or damages a textbook, they’ve got to pay for that,” said Howard. “So, the laptop is exactly the same thing.”
The other challenge, Howard said, is internet access. The school is offering a Wi-Fi on-the-go program. Students are able to purchase Wi-Fi from the school system and take home a hotspot device. The device is tax-deductible.