Thousands of Dougherty County students will have access to tablets this school year. After much discussion board members unanimously approved a new technology initiative.
Board members moved forward with this $13.7 million plan that's been in the works for the past year. While there are concerns, board members say the system is ready.
Robert Youngblood was one of several board members who wanted answers before voting for the one to one technology initiative, which will provide every student with a tablet, and laptops for teachers."Do we have policies in place for these kids on how they'll be handled? I'm not against one to one computing, I just want to ensure that if we're going to implement this and buy into it that we have the infrastructure in place, we have the curriculum in place and the training."
The $13.7 million plan will be paid for with SPLOST money."Some people think, well if you're doing this, why are you having budget cuts awhile back? We can afford to do this, this is a separate pot of money, it's SPLOST money and it's dedicated just for the use of technology," said Ken Dyer, DCSS Finance Director.
School leaders say there's a full warranty on the tablets, along with tracking software in case one is lost, stolen or damaged."The damage is going to happen," said DCSS Superintendent Dr. David Mosely."Kids and adults tear things us, not all of them, just a small segment. What we have to do is either fix them or replace them and move on. We can't let the fear of a little bit of that stop a good program."
Board members like Velvet Riggins are confident the initiative will improve the system."That's our concern, to make sure that our children are engaged and learn and I think the one to one technology will allow them to be engaged."
"I think the system is ready. And I think are kids, as far as technology goes, most of our kids are well versed and use the technology," said Youngblood.
Twelve schools will receive the laptops and tablets this year, and the rest of the schools next year. School leaders hope students in grades 3 through 12 can begin taking their tablets home in January.
They're also working on providing free Wi-Fi that those students could use from home with a password.
School leaders surveyed teachers throughout the system to see which schools would be ready for the new technology this year.
The schools that are getting the tablets/laptops this school year: