Apples for the teachers: Oxford BOE invests in Macbook Air laptops
by Eddie Burkhalter
May 22, 2013 | 5143 views |  0 comments | 212 212 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — Oxford public school students can expect to have some of the latest technology at their fingertips when school starts back next year, as the school board Tuesday approved the lease of new laptops from Apple computers.

The lease will cost the system around $700,000 each year for four years, said the school system’s director of operations, Eric Burrage.

The system already had 950 laptops in circulation among the schools. The new lease brings that total to 2,950.

Administrators will meet with students and parents during laptop deployment this fall, Burrage said, where they will go over proper use and care of the devices.

The lightweight, powerful new Macbook Air laptops will be going home each day with the approximately 1,250 students in grades 9-12, and will be used at school for the 700 or so students in grades seven through eight, Burrage said.

Administrators are still working on policies and procedures concerning how students must care for their laptops, he said, and are looking closer at self-insuring, whereby students would pay an insurance fee in the event a laptop is damaged.

“The laptops have a warranty from Apple if they tear up and something goes wrong, but dropping it or breaking it, it doesn’t cover that,” Burrage said.

As part of the school system’s capital plan, the board voted to approve a $700,000 bid from Lineville-based Hurst Construction to complete renovation of the kitchen and serving line at Oxford Elementary School. That work will begin this week, Burrage said.

The board took time at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting to recognize students who won at this year’s State Technology Fair, held in Montgomery in April. Oxford students won 20 awards in both individual and group categories.

Oxford School Superintendent Jeff Goodwin commended the students on their hard work, and explained that the wins are proof that the system is using technology to its fullest potential.

“These kids do great work, and one of the things that we always ask in our school district is, what are we doing in the classrooms with technology?,” Goodwin said. “It’s one thing to buy technology … but what are we doing with it? ... If our teachers are doing great things with it, our students are doing great things with it, and I think you’re going to see that today.”

The board also recognized the Oxford High School 2013 Visual Arts Achievement Program Award recipients and Racean Thomas for his work in designing the district’s new technology logo. Jorden Simpson was recognized as well for being named Best Wrestler in Alabama, winning the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award.

In other business, the board:

— Recognized FIRST Robotics mentor Udo Geesken for his guidance to students in the program.

— Increased lunch prices from $2.10 to $2.20 to meet federal requirements of the Healthy Hungry-free Kid Act.

— Approved transfer of one surplus school bus to the City of Oxford.

— Approved handbooks for kindergarten through the fourth grade at Oxford, Coldwater and DeArmanville Elementary schools, and Oxford Middle and High Schools.

— Elected Alex Davenport as Oxford School Board president and Karen Phillips as vice president.

The next board meeting will take place June 18 in the board conference room.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.
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