Officials approve additional laptops for Peach County High

jmink@macon.comDecember 4, 2012 

FORT VALLEY -- Officials made a step Tuesday night toward keeping laptops in the hands of all Peach County High School students.

The Peach County board of education approved a bid from Tiger Direct -- a Florida-based electronics company, which will provide 70 additional laptops for Peach County High. The bid was for nearly $43,000.

The purchase is part of a district-wide initiative to equip all high school students with laptops. Three years ago, the district snagged a state School Improvement Grant, which allowed officials to implement the laptop program.

Now that it’s in the last year of the grant, the district has about $1.6 million to spend in grant funds, and officials wanted to use some money to replace malfunctioning laptops and buy new ones for students. It’s an attempt to sustain the laptop program long after the grant money is gone, said Gail Swain, district director of grants and administrative services.

“This will be pretty much our final purchase with the grant money,” she said.

The rest of those funds are spent on teacher training, salaries and other technology. But, the laptop program has proven to be a success at Peach County High School, Swain said, and officials wanted to give it one last financial boost before the grant runs out.

“Next year, we won’t have that money anymore,” she said, “and we want to make sure our technology is up-to-date.”

Students are not the only ones who benefit from the program -- teachers receive laptops as well. Many use the computers in place of textbooks, referencing online texts. And, because the district encourages project-based learning, officials wanted students to have research tools at their fingertips.

Many students use laptops to take notes, complete assignments, design projects and perform class research. Students must leave the laptops at school when they go home, Swain said.

“We want to make sure our students have what they need to succeed,” she said.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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