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Pilot program gives UCPS students ‘netbook’ laptops

Monroe Middle School principal Montrio Belton distributes Dell Computers called “netbooks” to sixth graders at Monroe Middle School.

You could sense the excitement in the air as parents and students gathered in the Monroe Middle School media center Tuesday (January 26, 2010) afternoon to get information that would ultimately result in each sixth-grade student leaving with a new Dell laptop computer and case.
With a donation from Dell Computers, sixth graders at Monroe Middle School and ninth graders at Weddington High School will pilot the use of 240 laptop computers, also called netbooks, through a program called 1-to-1 Laptop Computing in the Classroom.
“Monroe Middle School has realized many accomplishments, but none can match the excitement that this opportunity provides,” said Monroe Middle School principal, Montrio Belton as he welcomed the parents to the meeting.
The meeting Tuesday afternoon was one of three opportunities this week for parents to attend the three-part training session required before students are issued a laptop. Weddington High School will hold meetings for parents February 8, 9, and 10. Parents rotated through each of the twenty-minute sessions with a card that had to be stamped at the end of each session and presented to get the computer.
Training sessions topics consisted of Expectations, Procedures and Policies, Care and Maintenance, and Internet Safety. “This is going to be good thing because we can save paper and energy by using the laptops,” said sixth-grade student Yosi Almanza.
His father Rigoberto Almanza, was more concerned about the proper care of the computer. “It’s good as long as he (Yosi) knows how to take good care of it,” he said.
Parent Erin Murphy expressed concerns about what could happen without proper parental supervision when students had the laptops at home.
“It’s exciting for kids, but more worrisome for parents,” Murphy said. “I trust my daughter to not go to inappropriate websites, but not every child is a mature as I think she is. The Board of Education and principal Belton deserve a lot of credit for what they are trying to do with this program.”
Zoe Branson, 11, summed it all up by saying, “This is really exciting and there is a need to bring in technology so kids don’t have to just depend on books to learn. Using technology is a lot more fun!”

For more information about this pilot “netbook” program, click here for an earlier feature.


Written by: Luan Ingram, UCPS Chief Communications Officer
Posted: Jan 29, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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