CHHS students will receive iPads

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Students at Charles Henderson High School could have iPads as soon as mid-September, thanks to a new technology initiative.

The Troy City Schools Board of Education voted Tuesday morning to approve a three-year lease program that will put iPads in the hands of all students, teachers and administrators in grades nine through 12.

“I commend the board on their support in allowing me to continue with these initiatives,” said Superintendent Lee Hicks.

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Hicks said he supported the technology initiative, modeled after similar programs in Huntsville and Baldwin County schools, because it provides both technological advantages and the potential to minimize capital expenditures.

The district will pay approximately $113,000 per year for the next three years to lease the iPads. By utilizing iPads, the district can now purchase digital versions of textbooks, downloading them onto the iPads for students, instead of having to purchase full sets of hardbound textbooks each year.

Mickey Daughtry, chief financial officer for the district, said the district pays an average of $70 to $75 per student per textbook. In 2014, when the district expects to issue a trio of new language arts textbooks, the district likely would spend about $135,000 to purchase the traditional textbooks. The cost of purchasing digital versions of the textbooks will be only about $27,000.

In addition to the access to textbooks, students will be able to use the iPads to communicate with teachers via school networks, conduct research, complete classwork, and possibly even complete tests. Helping teachers develop ways to incorporate the technology into their classwork will be a key training focus of the district, Hicks said.

“We’re moving from the industrial age to the information age,” said Wally Lowery, board member. Lowery said he had received overwhelming support from the community regarding the initiative. “I was at the ballpark last night and all the middle school students wanted to know when they were going to get their iPads, too.”

Hicks said plans call for adding iPads for seventh- and eighth-graders in the 2013-2014 school year.

In addition to the technology initiative, the district approved three new hires: Michelle Hicks, special education teacher at Charles Henderson Middle School; Michalyn Hope Hinson, English/Language Arts teacher at Charles Henderson High School; and Rachael Victoria Taylor, general science teacher at Charles Henderson High School.