HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — As students in several districts head back to school this week, many in Avon have some new technology in hand. It’s all part of the district’s STEP-UP program.
School leaders are filtering one grade in each of the intermediate, middle, and high schools into the program this year. Students in 6th and 8th grades will each get a personal laptop, along with the freshman at the high school. Seniors already had laptops.
Eventually all students in 5th through 12th grades will have their own laptop to use at school and at home. That will free up thousands of computers to be used in kindergarten through 4th grade classrooms.
School leaders say the goal of the program is to enhance and expand access to technology for kids in Avon and teach those students how to use tech for learning, not just entertainment.
“A lot of times they’ve picked it up because they’ve grown up with it, but they haven’t had that direct instruction on how this tool can be used in the learning process,” Assistant Superintendent John Atha said.
But that does come at a cost. Families will essentially lease-to-own the laptops paying $53 per year as part of their text book rental fee for four years. Then the laptop is theirs to keep.
Atha said he knows that’s an impact on parents, so the district has worked to soften the blow.
“We’ve done some things in text book rental to try to reduce that impact. And so overall from what text book rental was for each grade level last year, it’s not a $53 increase, it’s more like half of that,” Atha said.
The district is distributing between 2,100 and 2,400 HP Stream laptops. If a students receives one in 5th grade, that child will get a new device once he or she enters high school and still get to keep the first laptop.