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Laptop For Every Third Grader

By Princess Manasseh

In September Mills School and Technology Academy in Whittier becomes the second school in the SGV to implement a laptop program for its third grade students.  The initiative, called ‘1 on 1,’ requires that parents of each third grader buy a brand new Apple Macbook for their child.  Use of the computer will be integrated into the students’s daily curriculum, with an emphasis on teaching each child how to use their computer effectively.

Much to the dismay of administrators at Mills School, there were not nearly enough funds for the school to provide computers to all 79 of its third graders, so they looked to support from the parents.  Because the cost was to fall on the parents, the program needed at least a ninety percent participation among them.  When the initiative was explained and the votes were collected, ninety-two percent of parents were found to be in favor of getting the laptops.

Each laptop costs $1256, a hefty expense for many of the parents.  To help lighten the load Mills School has forged a deal with Apple to offer parents payment plans stretching up to three years.  Parents have some options: they can pay for the computer in full with a lump some or they can take advantage of various plans.  The most affordable plan requires parents to pay $38.06 a month.  The school is also looking for community sponsors to help cover the cost for students who cannot afford a computer.

The program is designed so that each year, incoming third graders receive a new laptop.  They will use this computer in the classroom for the next three years, carrying them from the start of third grade, to the end of fifth.  During that time the children are expected to learn computer essentials that have become vital in society a large.

“I am extremely pleased that my son will begin working with computers so early on,” said Mills parent Mindy Morales, mother of third grader Lester Morales.  “In this fast moving society we live in, it will be those who get a head start on mastering technology that lead the way for the rest of us.  I’m just glad my son will be one of the leaders.”

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