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Red Oak Schools lend laptops to students, to begin roll out sessions this week

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With the goal to provide a variety of technologies, new learning opportunities and unique resources to students in Red Oak, the Red Oak Community School District  has been planning more than two years for the ability to participate in the One-to-One Laptop program.

Among the tasks Red Oak completed in order to prepare for the program was the upgrading of the schools’ infrastructure to handle the wireless demands, server virtualization and teacher professional development.

The project will forever change the way instruction is given in the classrooms.

“For the most part, we have been teaching the same way for decades,” said Bob Deter, Technology Director at Red Oak Community Schools. “Our students are ‘digital natives.’ They have grown up with technology and are ‘connected’ most of the time. Until now, we have asked them to drop what they know when they reach the school doors.”

According to Deter, research has shown when students are provided with laptops and up-to-date technology and the program is implemented properly, test scores improve, attendance improves, dropout rates improve and discipline referrals decrease.

To get the funding for the project, the school district made use of the Iowa one cent sales tax that goes into the Physical Plant and Property Levy. The Revenue Purpose Statement approved by vote a few years ago allows the district to use the money for technology.

Besides the preparation needed to bring the program to Red Oak, funds were used to purchase software, hardware, 775 Dell Laptops, laptop bags and Epson BrightLink interactive projectors for most of the K-12 classrooms.

“Our goal is to provide access to technology to all our students when they need it,” Deter said. “We encourage all parents, guardians and students to participate in this program, to attend a roll out night and participate in the Information and Parent Q & A sessions.”

One-to-One Laptop Roll Out nights (when students and their parents can come pick up their computers) will be from 7-8:30 p.m.,  August 7, 8 and 9, at Red Oak Community High School.

However, there are a few requirements in order to participate:

First of all, students must be registered to attend Red Oak Community Schools for the 2012-13 school year.

At registration, parents and guardians will receive a copy of the Student Laptop Handbook and the Acceptable Use Policy. Both handbooks are also available on the Red Oak Community Schools website at redoakschooldistrict.com.

All parents and guardians are  asked to complete related forms and bring them to the roll out night.

Finally, parents and guardians must attend one of the roll out sessions in order for their student(s) to receive a laptop. Laptops will be distributed alphabetically according to the parent or guardian’s last name:

• A-G – Tuesday, Aug. 7
• H-P – Wednesday, Aug. 8
• Q-Z – Thursday, Aug. 9

In the event a parent or guardian is unable to attend one of these nights, their student(s) will have a laptop to use while at school. However, they will not be permitted to take their laptop home until the required paperwork and attendance of a roll out session is completed.

At least one more roll out session will be scheduled after school has started.
If parents or guardians choose not to allow their student(s) to take their laptops home, the students will have access to their laptops only while at school.

While the laptops will be taken home by the students, the Red Oak Community School District reminds parents and students both, ownership of the laptops is retained by the school district. Staff can collect and/or inspect the equipment, obtain remote access and alter, add or delete software or hardware  at anytime. Students will be expected to be responsible for the proper care of the laptop, including data stored on the laptop, and incidents of damage where the student was negligible will cause fines to be charged. This is to avoid improper use of the laptops and to aid in the repair of them as necessary.

The Red Oak School District will also routinely monitor the use of the computers to ensure compliance with the policies.

For more information contact the Red Oak School District at 623-6600.