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January 2, 2013
NRMPS set to distribute first round of laptops in January

Later this month, students at Parker Middle School, Nash Central High School, and Southern Nash High School will be the first in the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools system to receive Macbook Air laptops as part of the district's one-to-one device initiative.

Now referred to as "iConnect", the school system's ‘digital conversion' is designed to help prepare and empower students to make stronger connections with their peers, their teachers, the community, and the world. Students will have access to information 24 hours a day, 7 days per week during the school year.

"Today's rapidly changing world demands that our students be critical thinkers with strong digital literacy skills." Dr. Anthony Jackson, Superintendent said. "The iConnect initiative will increase the level of rigor and relevance provided throughout our instructional programs. When implemented strategically and effectively, mobile technology transforms the traditional teaching and learning model. It allows students to become more independent, and teachers to shift from acting as 'directors' of learning to 'facilitators' of learning."

The iConnect initiative provides an iPad for every student in grades 4-6, and a Macbook Air laptop for all students in grades 7-12.

Orientations for the three laptop pilot schools will feature topics such as device care, troubleshooting, responsibility, acceptable use, digital citizenship and discipline. Parents and students will complete these sessions prior to signing for and picking up their iPads or laptops. Orientation events for Parker Middle School will be held January 16, 23, and 29. Orientations for Nash Central High School will be held January 17, 22, and 26. The sessions for Southern Nash High School will be held on January 17, 24, and 26. The times of day vary for each date to accommodate parent work schedules. 

 "We're offering three opportunities per pilot school for students and parents to come and learn what they will need to know initially to utilize these devices effectively." Jane Finch, Chief Technology Officer said.  "Our pilot schools will benefit us as we work through any issues that we need to address prior to the district-wide roll-out next fall."

Students and parents will be required to sign and return the Computer Protection Agreement and Internet Acceptable Use documents before a laptop will be issued. The school district is requiring a usage fee of $25 per student for the pilot schools, since students will have the laptops for half of the school year. Next fall, the usage fee for all students will be $50 to cover the expenses for entire school year. Payment plans can be set-up for students who are unable to pay the entire user fee at one time.

Elementary schools that are in the process of implementing the iPad pilot with fourth and fifth grade students are pleased with how students are already using them for innovative research and projects. Margaret Sharpe, principal of Nashville Elementary School said students are enjoying using the iPads on a daily basis.

"The students are using creativity to develop works in Educreations, Animoto and several other programs." said Sharpe. "The students are highly engaged and excited to show off their skills and knowledge using the iPads. There is a sense of excitement and pride in the students' work in all of the classrooms."

Gail Powers, Principal at Nash Central High School looks forward to the level of equity that will be provided for students as the computers will give all of them instant access to information.

"When we think about human history-the progression from handwriting to printing presses, and from printed materials to the internet age, each advance in technology has served as an equalizer, and an important vehicle for exposing more people to information." said Powers. "The one-to-one initiative in our school system wipes away all excuses. Every student, regardless of any demographic characteristic, will have access to information on virtually any subject, right at their fingertips. It will be an amazing opportunity and experience for our students."

View additional information about the district's iConnect initiative.