Idaho School District Issues Laptops to High School Students

An Idaho school district is handing out nearly 2,000 laptops this week to high school students as part of the first phase of a three-year personalized learning initiative.

Nampa School District, which serves about 15,000 students from pre-K through 12th grade in Canyon County, ID, is issuing the Dell Latitude laptops to Columbia High School students. The computers will be used both in class and at home.

“I think it’s going to be fun having a laptop around,” sophomore Trevor Young said in an interview with KTVB-TV. “Always having something to keep track of what I have.”

The laptops are part of a three-year, $3.5 million project to modernize classroom technology and curriculum, as well as provide professional development for teachers. In November, Nampa School District voters passed an increased supplemental levy of $7.78 million, which includes the modernization project.

Superintendent David Peterson said the initiative is about providing the necessary electronic tools for students and teachers as the district moves toward more content creation and personalized, project-based learning.

At Columbia High School, ninth graders are being issued laptops that they will use throughout their four years in school.

Nampa School District officials said they’ve modeled this program after other schools that have successfully issued laptops to students, but they understand there will be a learning curve.

“We’re a school,” Peterson told KTVB-TV. “We learn, we try things and we learn.”

Laptop distribution at Columbia continues through Thursday. Each laptop comes loaded with the apps and programs students need for school, and they can’t add new ones, KTVB-TV said. Internet access is also filtered both on and off campus, the station said. Students and parents must sign an acceptable use agreement.

After the rollout at Columbia, about 2,700 iPads will be distributed to students at five elementary schools throughout the Nampa School District.

Over the next three years, every student in the district will be involved in the learning initiative, Peterson said.

For more information on the project, visit the Nampa School District website.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].