By Chris Kieffer
BOONEVILLE – Booneville Middle School students received laptops on Tuesday night as part of the school district’s new one-to-one technology initiative.
Each of the 1,300 kindergarten through 12th-graders in the district will receive personal technology under the initiative. That includes iPad Minis for kindergartners and first-graders, and Chromebook laptops for those in grades two and above.
“We are wanting to give them real-world experiences,” said Superintendent Todd English. “Our goal is to prepare our students to be able to compete globally upon graduating from the Booneville School District. If our kids can’t compete globally, we’ve failed.”
The initiative is funded by a $1.2 million grant the school district received from Gov. Phil Bryant’s budget for the current year, English said. The district had pitched it to Bryant as a pilot to show the cost savings of using digital textbooks, English said. The biggest barrier was the up-front cost of the technology.
He said C Spire Wireless will expand wireless Internet access in all of the district’s school buildings.
“I said the cost savings are phenomenal, if you can get over the device hurdle,” English said. “I said, if you allow us to do it, it will be implemented correctly.”
Hattiesburg Middle also received a similar grant, English said.
The high school students have already received their computers and begun using them. Technology to other students will be distributed soon.
Those in fifth through 12th grade will take the technology home, while a decision is still being made for second- to fourth-graders. The kindergarten and first-grade students will use them in their classroom.
Other Northeast Mississippi school districts are implementing new computer initiatives, including Corinth, which also announced one recently.