Hundreds of students in Stewartville schools will soon have access to individual laptop computers.
After discussing the issue for about 45 minutes at a work session last week, the Stewartville School Board unanimously agreed to move forward with a one-to-one laptop program.
The board's decision means that the district will provide laptops to about 555 students in grades four, five, six and nine for the 2011-12 school year. After the program is fully implemented in five years, all students in grades four through 12 will have laptops.
The board debated whether to fully implement the five-year program or to move forward with a one-year pilot program in grades four, five, six and nine and not charge parents a $40 fee for 2011-12. If the board had chosen the second option, school officials would have had to decide whether to continue the program after the one-year pilot program was completed.
In the end, the board agreed to fully implement the program and to charge parents the fee beginning in 2011-12.
Rob Mathias, School Board member, supported full implementation, saying he was very impressed with the students he saw using one-to-one laptops at a school district in Van Meter, Iowa.
"My feeling is to move forward with this total program," Mathias said. "I don't see (students using individual computers) turning around. From what I saw (in Iowa), the classrooms using the laptops looked so much more involved."
For more on this story pick up your copy of the May 17 Stewartville STAR.