Upshur students to receive iPads next school year

BUCKHANNON — Every Upshur County Schools student will receive an iPad to use at home during the next school year under a $2.1 million lease agreement the Upshur County Board of Education approved this week with Apple.

The $2,131,661.75 lease agreement is for four years and will fit within Upshur County Schools’ current technology budget. It also includes Apple Care on all devices for three years.

Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus said after three years, the devices will be traded in for new devices.

“We trade our machines in and that would pay for the fourth year,” she said. “That Apple Care replaces everything on each device up to two times including full replacement. We are very excited. The high school and middle school students will have keyboards with their iPads.

“Every teacher will get a new laptop, iPad and they will have Apple TVs in their room so they can project to that device,” she said. “The other thing that goes along with that is professional learning for our staff – how to use these new devices to teach.”

Having the one-to-one technology would have helped during the current school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wish we had the things we are getting next year for this year because then we would have been in a lot better shape if every student had a device to take home,” she said.

Teachers have been planning lessons for students and sending electronically since the closure began March 16.

“With the stay at home order now, teachers are forced to be innovative but many of our teachers have been using this type of innovation for a long time,” she said. “When we said ‘teach your students electronically’ they told us they have been using Google Classroom. It was really seamless for them.”

Director of Finance George Carver said the schools’ budget would absorb the cost by “taking money we are already spending for other technology purposes and transferring that to paying the lease on this proposal.”

It fits within the budget we already have,” he said. “I see some opportunities to save some additional expenditures ranging from copier costs, to textbooks and maybe other technology costs. I don’t see any need to have an increase in this budget to pay for this project.”

Board member Kristi Wilkerson said, “I think this looks great. I just want to make sure that in the future we continue to look at research and best processes. We have seen where some school districts have returned to hardbook textbooks as a better teaching means, a better learning tool for students. So just making sure we are staying on top of both. We have this option which is great but that in some cases, if a real textbook, real paper is better than we also remember that and think about that too.”

Wilkerson moved to approve the lease, seconded by board vice president Katie Loudin and the motion passed. Board member Alan Suder was not in the meeting for the vote.


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