Superior High School: A Laptop for Every Freshman

By KBJR News 1

September 4, 2012 Updated Sep 4, 2012 at 8:49 PM CDT

Superior, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - It's been a goal for the Superior School district for two years. Now, getting laptops into the hands of students for daily educational use is finally coming to fruition.

"Our district superintendent Janna Stevens set the vision, and kind of put it out there—especially in the last two years—saying this is something we definitely want to work toward," said Superior School District Technology Integration Specialist, Andy Mork.

Through a combination of funding through the district's technology budget and Title 1 money, each freshman will be guaranteed—for a $25 insurance payment—a personal laptop to be used solely by the individual, inside, or outside, school, strictly for educational purposes.

"They get them as a 9th grader. That laptop is there's through their four years here, at Superior High School, and then another batch of laptops will be deployed in September for next year's 9th grade class," said Jodie Peterson, Library Media Specialist for the school.

...with the option of purchasing the computer, and handy carry bag, at minimal cost upon graduation.

There have been concerns regarding improper use or losing the notebook computers, but a pilot program has helped alleviate some of that worry.

"We ran a pilot last spring with 40 students, and we lost 0 computers, and had 0 damage. We had 100% success," said Mork.

As far as damage goes...

"It's covered—as long as it's accidental damage—through the warranty. If it's intentional damage, then there's responsibility on the child," said Peterson.

According to teachers at Superior High School, one of the more exciting features of the laptops is the real world connections that they will bring to the classroom.

"I'm excited to pretty much be able to do things that we've talked about doing for years, but we haven't had the resources. [I'm] looking to make the curriculum a little bit more "real world" by connecting to people outside," said Social Studies teacher Tate Haglund-Pagel.

And students are on board, as well, saying full–time, guaranteed access to a computer is often hard to come by.

"I have two houses. One house hasn't had computers—none of them work. And in the other house, everyone has a computer, except for me, because my mom stepped on mine," said Freshman Rylie Hoyt.

...an accident that, next time, is covered by the warranty.

Many 10th grade teachers also have access to laptops for students in their classrooms in order to become better prepared to enter them in their curriculum next year.