WASHINGTON TWP. — Ditch the textbooks. Washington Township High School is going digital.
This fall, every student at the high school — all 2,200 of them at the largest high school in Gloucester County — will receive a laptop provided by the district as part of a new “one-to-one initiative.”
The laptops, which are set to be distributed starting July 26, will contain their coursework as opposed to receiving traditional textbooks and the program will allow students to keep their laptop after graduation. The long-awaited program is aimed at aiding students and teachers alike.
“It’s going to make our classrooms much more innovative,” said Ann Moore, principal of Washington Township High School. “Not that they haven’t always been, but this gives both students and the teachers a new set of tools for both teaching and learning.”
The laptops, purchased through Dell via state contracts, will be given to all of the school’s students and teachers free of charge as part of the initiative. The district was able to purchase the laptops, which retail around $700 each, without any additional budgeting, instead allocating money leftover from curriculum adoption in the science department.
“We didn’t really need to come up with additional dollars. It was dollars already budgeted for the purpose of the science adoption that allowed us to purchase the computers needed so we’re able to put a computer in the hands of every student,” said Joseph Bollendorf, Superintendent of Washington Township schools.
The introduction of laptops as a replacement for textbooks has been a concept that Washington Township High School had looked into in the past but lacked funds to put forth a plan of action until just recently with this laptop initiative.
“Text books online are far more interactive and way more relatable to today’s kids who are growing up with computers. So it’s a matter of us utilizing that technology and using it as a teaching tool. It won’t change how we teach but it’s a tool,” said Bollendorf.
Washington Township is not the first school in the region to supply their students with laptops. West Deptford and Clayton High School have already done it, however Washington Township would be the largest to do so.
With more than 2,200 students the high school had to compose a distribution schedule to assure all students received laptops before classes start. Distribution for the laptops, which is sorted by grade level in addition to alphabetically, is slated to begin July 26 and run until Aug. 11.
The school district has also set up an informational meeting on July 25 at 6 p.m. at the Investors Bank Performing Arts Center for students and parents to become more acquainted with the technology.
More information about the one-to-one laptop initiative can be found on the Washington Township school district’s website, WTPS.org.