Houston School District Hands Out Laptops To Thousands Of Students

Last year, Houston School Superintendent Terry Grier announced an ambitious plan to have a laptop for every student from third grade all the way to twelfth grade. This month, that plan is gearing up
 

At Madison High School, teachers have been getting ready for this day since the beginning of the school year.

It’s the day all 2,000 high schoolers here get their very own laptop.

Math teacher Shannon Smith has been helping other teachers prepare.

“Of course, some of the students know way more than we do when it comes to technology. But we are quite prepared in order to lead our particular subject matter through a digital lesson.”

Superintendent Terry Grier says teacher training is very important in this initiative he calls “Power Up.”

“This is not about giving kids a laptop and being finished. This is all about what we teach and how we teach. And to that end we’ve spent a lot of time training our teachers.”

This month more than 18,000 students are getting their machines.

Grier says he picked 11 schools that had the technology infrastructure needed to support the devices. Other high schools include Bellaire, Chavez and Lee.

Chief Technology Officer Lenny Schad gives reporters a quick preview of those devices. The district is leasing them from Hewlett-Packard.

“And as you can see, the case opens up, the computer’s inside and they’re ready to go.”

All students have to pay a non-refundable fee of $25 to use the laptops on campus and at home.

For the district the price tag is more. This first phase is costing about $19 million. 

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...