Brick Schools to Begin $1.5M Student Laptop Program
High school seniors will get Mac laptops; teachers to receive training
The Brick Township Board of Education has decided to begin a one-to-one laptop program at Brick Township High School and Brick Memorial High School.
The laptop program will consist of Apple Macbook Air computers distributed to all high school seniors that they will carry with them during the school day. All high school teachers will also be issued laptops and use them for lessons.
"I'm a big proponent of having computers for the students," said Superintendent Dr. Walter Uszenski," who explained at the Sept. 20 school board meeting that laptop programs decrease absenteeism and discipline problems and increase student achievement.
School officials said high school seniors will be the first to receive the laptops because they will be heading to college or the workplace and should have experience with computer applications.
Uszenski said though few districts in the state currently have such a program, the state is expected to begin mandating schools promote "career readiness" and place an extra emphasis on technology.
"We're ahead of the curve here in Brick," he said. "This Board of Education has really pushed the bar for us."
The computers – 325 for teachers and 1,100 for students – will be purchased through a competitive capital lease sale for $1,554,087, said Business Administrator Jim Edwards.
The price also includes training for teachers, mobile carts on which the computers will be stored and maintenance, repair and upgrade fees.
Students will use the computers during the school day but will not be permitted to take them home, said Uszenski.
Apple advised the district should not allow the computers to be taken home, he said. Purchasing insurance for take-home computers would come with an "exorbitant" cost, he said. The district's current insurance policy does not cover such items.
Uszenski said students will sign a contract when the laptops are available, pleding not to damage or misuse them. Students who intentionally damage the laptops will have to reimburse the district, just as if they damaged any other school property, officials said.
The teachers should be receiving their computers in November and begin training, and the students will receive theirs in January, said Edwards.
"There is a sense of excitement at both high schools," said Brick Memorial High School Principal Dr. Richard Caldes.