Northridge High School gives laptops to every student

Students at Northridge High School in Middlebury are trading in their pencils for keyboards.

This year, every student in the school is getting a brand-new laptop at registration.

“I like it, I think it's going to be a lot easier as students and will help us a lot because I know we're always packed full of people in the library wanting computers,” said student Taylor Miller.

The cost of the nearly 1,300 new computers is being shared by the school and its students. A portion is covered by the textbook fee, the rest by the school’s capital projects fund.

Students will be able to use the new computers in the classroom and at home.

“Obviously the Internet opens the world up to the students,” said Principal Gerald Rasler. “So, when the students go in the classroom, the teacher can have them get on a certain site, research things.”

But, the power of technology comes with great responsibility.

To make sure the computers last through many lessons, students are getting an education in laptop care.

They all sat through a presentation during registration that explained how to properly maintain their new computers.

Parents also have the option of purchasing insurance to cover the cost of damage.

“Students know they’re responsible for that machine and if it doesn’t work, it’s going to cause them problems that way, as well,” Rasler said.

To help keep the new cargo in working order, students each get a special, padded backpack they must use to transport the computers at all times.

“I’m not really excited about the bags because I heard they’re pretty ugly this year,” said student Mickenzie Yoder.

Students paid a one-time $20 fee for the backpacks and get to keep them, so they can be decorated.

Teachers will also benefit from the upgrade.

A special grant is allowing the school to hire a technology coach for the year to help teachers learn the machines.

“The grant is also going to enable each teacher to have one half day per month the first nine months to do training,” Rasler said.

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