Every fifth grader in Hopewell will be receiving a new laptop this school year - the first time the District has paid for each student in a grade level to have a personal computer.
In an interview Monday, Dr. Tina Barringer, supervisor of math, science and instructional technology for Hopewell Public Schools said the City's fifth graders are moving from a textbook to an online-based science curriculum.
The savings from no textbooks, according to the District, will help pay for the 300 new laptops.
"We saved $51,000 when we went from a textbook version to something that's totally online," Barringer said.
Fifth-graders will receive the laptops, rather than high school students, because federal money was only available for Hopewell's younger students to have the new computers.
"Sometimes you have to go with where you can get the money from," Barringer said. "And in this instance, a large pocket of the money we're using was only available for elementary students."
The District says using technology at a younger age will help Hopewell fifth graders excel as they move on to middle and high school.
The elementary students also have a difficult year - they have to prepare for not one, but four standard of learning exams.
The total price tag for the laptops comes in at just over $340,000.
"Not to worry, it's coming from the textbook fund. It's coming from some of the technology money we get from the State Department," Barringer said.
The fifth-graders will not be allowed to take the laptops home. The District will order the computers after the new fiscal year begins on July 1.
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