HS seniors expand learning resources through laptop initiative

This school year West Point School District in West Point, Miss., has launched the IMPACT laptop initiative to increase student attendance and graduation rates. Funded through an Enhancing Education Through Technology grant, the IMPACT (Inspiring and Motivating, Performance, Achievement and Creativity through Technology) program enables every senior student to checkout a laptop, for a nominal usage fee, for the year.

The program is designed to enhance classroom instruction, encourage students to attend school daily, and foster 21st century skills and college readiness. Students gain learning experiences they may not have been exposed to otherwise. To support the program, the school district is providing teachers with professional development and training conducted by STI , provider of education data management and instructional coaching.

Every participating senior and their parents are required to attend an IMPACT orientation class that addresses the responsibility issues, maintenance, and care of the individual laptops. Supported by school-home communications, each participant understands the capacity for the laptop initiative to enhance student achievement and attendance through more engaging instruction and student-created content.

A target group of West Point teachers are participating in the i21 Zone professional development and training conducted by STI to ensure laptops are used in classroom instruction effectively. In partnership with West Point administrators, STI is providing a customized technology integration plan and training that helps the district build a foundation for teachers to transform their classrooms into dynamic, interactive learning environments, personalized to students’ individual needs, by using the technologies that are already available to them. The district is able to capitalize on their technology investments while improving student outcomes.

“The IMPACT program has been developed to introduce our students to technology not usually made available outside of school,” stated Chris Carter, West Point School District’s technology director. “Using the laptops provided by IMPACT, students gain extensive access to online resources inside and outside of the classroom. Our goal is to increase student motivation in preparation for college and their future careers.”

The participating students are excited about the new laptop initiative and the ease of completing assignments online, “I use Google to help with my vocabulary and my research for projects. I really like using Yahoo Mail to email my teachers my school work,” said senior Cody Dennis.