Laptops near for Tupelo students in 6th to 12th grade

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo sixth- to 12th-grade students will receive Macbooks soon.
Computer distribution was delayed this school year while Apple serviced the nearly 4,000 student machines. The computers are almost ready and will be provided to students in the middle of this month, Tupelo School District Deputy Superintendent Diana Ezell said.
Each sixth- to 12th-grade student will be provided a laptop to use during the year and return at the end of the year, Ezell said. The district had considered changing the way it used the computers, discussing the possibility of having students return them at the end of each school day or each class period.
Instead, they will use the computers as they did last year, with students being able to take them home. This is the second year of the school district’s one-to-one laptop initiative.
Before students will receive their computers, they will go through five days of training. That training will last for about 20 to 30 minutes a day in homeroom periods.
“They will talk about why the district is making this investment and what we hope the students gain,” Ezell said. “They will also talk about the dos and don’ts of laptop care and about the responsible use policy.”
Also, parents will need to pay another $50 user fee for each computer and sign acceptable use documents. The fee that parents paid last year was a user fee, not a deposit, meaning that parents must pay the fee again, Ezell said.
The district will offer a payment plan for those who can’t pay the user fee, or will find a way to work with those families, Ezell said.
High school students will begin their training on Thursday and may receive their computers late next week. Training for Tupelo Middle School and Milam students will follow.
About 3,300 of the district’s 3,800 student computers needed servicing work this summer, Ezell said. Most of that work was covered by warranty, meaning that it was not the result of misuse of the computers, she said. The district also had to order several new computers because of increased enrollment.
As the district waited for the computers to be ready, a team of school principals and central office administrators has been discussing ways the district could improve the use of the laptops.
“I think we have taken our time and planned this our so we will have optimal use for students this year,” Ezell said.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com