Monday night, Dothan City School Board Members took a digital step. By a 4-2 vote, they passed the One-to-One Initiative. It would allow students in 4th through 12th grade to each have an iPad of their own.
“We expect attendance to be improved. We expect discipline to be improved. It's not just one thing. We don't just look at test scores or something like that, that's just straight academic,” explained Mark Williams, Director of Technological Services with Dothan City Schools.
Unfortunately, electronics sometimes break, get lost, or stolen. Some board members were afraid they will not have the manpower to manage 6,300 iPads.
“I cannot see us taking a number of students, that we have in our school system, and giving them all an iPad at one time and then, all of a sudden, it's going to hit the fan and we're going to say we don't have enough people to handle it,” expressed Jimmy Addison, Board Member for District 4.
However, the majority thought the pros outweighed the cons. Superintendent Tim Wilder acknowledged they still have a lot of work to do, but he believes this is the right step.
“We know the concerns are out there. The pressure is on us now to make sure that instruction is delivered the right way. But, this is going to revitalize the way we learn, revitalize the way we teach, and the sky's the limit with this resource being able to have this interactive device,” said Tim Wilder, Superintendent of Dothan City Schools.
The goal is to have these iPads in school by fall, just in time for the new school year. There is a $30 service fee for parents per student, and board members will discuss hiring more personnel for this initiative at their board meeting next week.