According to a plan approved by the Stewartville School Board in May, laptops will be distributed to all 550+ students in fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth grades beginning in the fall. The plan is to continue issuing laptops to incoming classes until, in four years, all students, grades 4-12, will have a computer for daily use.
“Our job is to provide our students with access to top of the line information,” says Bruce Hoff, high school principal. “It is not about the technology, it just becomes another tool in the teacher’s tool box.” Middle school principal Joe Jezierski adds that professional development is a key to overcoming teacher reluctance and making the new program work – just as it was when interactive whiteboards were introduced in a previous year.
The school board debated whether to start off with a one-year pilot or commit to the four-year plan up front. School board member Rob Mathias argued for the full implementation after spending time visiting a similar program in Van Meter, Iowa. He was impressed with what he saw there and convinced that once students and teachers begin using the laptops, they will have no interest in turning back.Monitoring results will be important as well, of course. As principal Jezierski puts it, “If we do not see improvement, we will not continue the program.” (source)