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School updates 1:1 program after Apple discontinues laptop

Students at Saints Francis & Clare Catholic School will turn in their personal laptops permanently at the end of this school year. When school resumes in August, each student in grades 4-8 will be assigned an iPad 2 for the school’s 1:1 program. This transition to the iPad comes after Apple’s announcement that they will discontinue manufacturing the white unibody laptops the school currently uses.

Student using iPad

An iPad being tested by a student.

“As a 21st Century Catholic School, we must stay abreast of changes in technology in order to adjust and provide our students with the opportunities and skills they need to be global citizens,” says Principal Mrs. Betty Popp.

SSFC School has been looking into the complete iPad transition for over a year. Staff members have researched the issue by visiting public and private schools, attending many Apple conferences and workshops, and using iPads in their own classrooms. Technology Director Mr. Michael Pawlik looks forward to the transition. “Because of our layered curriculum, it is essential for the success of our students that they remain on the same platform. If we moved to a different model laptop, it would create a disparity in the devices our students and teachers use.”

Parochial schools often stretch budget dollars in order to keep tuition rates manageable for families. President Rob Richardson is mindful of this issue. “The sale of the previously owned laptops will allow for a large scale iPad 2 purchase. We’ll also be able to equip the iPads with educational apps and cases without causing a hike in cost of tuition.”

Checking out the new hardware and applications.A limited number of laptops have been made available to school and parish families as well as the public at the cost of $650-$700. SSFC is retaining a number of laptops for classroom use as well as standardized testing such as ISTEP, which currently does not offer testing on iPads. Pawlik acknowledges the inevitable learning curve for students but is confident the school is moving in the right direction. “There is always a lag time with each technology advance. Our students will be adept at both laptop and iPad operation methods and prepared for when it is offered.”

Laptops for sale – Anyone interested in purchasing a laptop should email support@francisandclare.org. This sale is conducted on a first come, first serve basis. MacBook model MC240LL/A is $650, the AmcBook MC207LL/A is $700.

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