Lincoln Hall distributing iPads to Lincolnwood seventh-graders
A student uses an iPad in class. Lincolnwood School District 74 kicked off the second year of its one-to-one personal learning initiative by redistributing iPads this week to students who previously used them as sixth-graders. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: September 17, 2012 12:39PM
LINCOLNWOOD — The back-to-school supply list for incoming Lincoln Hall seventh-graders includes an iPad, one of today’s hippest learning tools. Younger students, however, will have to wait several months for their turn at using the sleek devices in class.
Lincolnwood School District 74 kicked off the second year of its one-to-one personal learning initiative by redistributing iPads this week to students who previously used them as sixth-graders.
The district rolled out the program last year with the intent to add another class over three years so that, by fall 2013, every sixth- through eighth-grade student at Lincoln Hall would have his or her own device. Interim Superintendent Kenneth Cull said plans for issuing iPads to incoming sixth-graders are stalled as a result of a recent staff turnover. In the past month and a half, Lincoln Hall lost its principal, Linda Klobucher, and information technology assistant Grace Frantz when they took positions in other districts. Susan Brandt retired as the assistant superintendent for curriculum in mid-March.
Though new employees have since been hired to step into the administrative roles, District 74 has two fewer technology aides compared to last year, and four unfilled support positions.
“We’re feeling fairly good about getting those iPads issued (to seventh-graders),” Cull said at the Aug. 2 Board of Education meeting. “What we’re not feeling good about is what to do with sixth-grade students.”
Doubling the number of devices with less staff oversight is overwhelming, Cull said, which is why the administrative team is restructuring the program before expanding.
He said sixth-grade teachers would temporarily provide seventh-grade instructors with training and support related to the devices.
Administrators aim to have iPads in sixth-grade classes by end of first trimester.
The Board of Education requested that, for the time being, parents of sixth-graders who paid the $100 annual fee be issued a refund.
“I don’t like that we’ve been holding the money for four or five months already,” said Board Vice President/Secretary Darlene Fourkas. “I know the sixth-graders are running around thinking they’re getting the iPads when we know they’re not.”
The iPads are the property of the district. Parents pay $100 annually to cover insurance and downloaded applications with the expectation that students would keep the devices after graduating from eighth grade.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Kim Nasshan and Director of Technology Jen Anderson could not be reached for comment.