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Glenbard freshmen to use iPads in class next fall as part of technology deployment

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 2:17 p.m. CDT

Glenbard Township High School District 87 will roll out a 1-to-1 iPad deployment next fall for all freshmen and other students enrolled in ninth grade core courses.

The initiative is the latest in the district's implementation of its Instructional Technology Strategic Plan, which calls for every Glenbard student to have an iPad for class. The district will phase in the plan by beginning with the freshman class next fall and adding each year's incoming class to the program for the following three years.

The program will allow students in freshman core classes to rent an iPad from the district or to bring one from home, assuming the device meets requirements set by District 87's instructional technology team.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the deployment at its meeting Nov. 18.

During the meeting, Superintendent David Larson highlighted the work that went into the program's development.

District 87 previously launched an iPad pilot program last year in a few classrooms at each school and approved a "Bring Your Own Technology" policy this year.

The district chose iPads for its 1-to-1 deployment based on their prevalence among school districts and students and their ability to fulfill most of the items on the district's wish list, including approved use for standardized tests, options for users with special needs and access to necessary applications.

Students will pay a fee to rent an iPad from the district, similar to the current textbook fee.

The 12-month iPad rental fee will total $189, including mandatory insurance. An additional $85 fee will cover digital curriculum and applications, bringing the final cost to $274.

This is $79 more than the textbook rental fee, which totals $125 and requires an additional $70 for novels and workbooks.

Board member Mary Ozog suggested communicating with parents to compare the iPad rental fee to what families have paid in the past.

"That would be something, at least, to have that in the back pocket," Ozog said.

The deployment program will require an investment of $500,000 to $600,000 per year by the district. Once cost savings occur at the end of the current pilot program and the number of laptops, desktops and paper products is reduced, the program is expected to cost $200,000 to $300,000 each year, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Chris McClain said at a previous board meeting Nov. 4.

A targeted professional development program has been created to support ninth grade teachers beginning this winter. A communication plan for eighth grade families from District 87's feeder districts will launch in the near future, according to district reports.

The district also plans to provide a special summer orientation for students who will be part of the upcoming deployment.

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