District Issuing Laptops to Incoming Freshman Next Year

The high school tentatively plans to lease about 350 laptops for the incoming freshmen to use for more technology and research-based projects in their core classes. If the program is successful, administrators plan to expand it within three years.

The plans to bring the freshman curriculum further into the 21st century starting next fall.

Although bidding hasn’t ended yet, the high school tentatively plans to lease about 350 laptops for the incoming freshmen to use for more technology and research-based projects in their core classes. 

Administrators have estimated the cost to be about $600 per laptop and included $58,000 in the budget for the program. This money was already in the budget for the school district as part of its overall fund balance. The costs may also eventually be offset by reducing the need for text books and computer labs in the school over time.

If the program is successful, administrators plan to expand it within three years. The current plan is that the second phase would bring laptops to the rest of the high school while the third would extend laptop use down to sixth grade.

The decision to bring laptops into ninth grade classrooms has been on the agenda for the school board for much of the academic school year. It has followed the nationwide trend of encouraging technological literacy in schools.

“The expectations are much more significant for students now, so the tool access has to be much more significant.” Superintendent Patricia Greco said.

While some schools have adopted a “bring your own” laptop model, Menomonee Falls school administrators decided to provide students with the technology in the beginning before easing into a more blended program in which students would have the option of bringing their own laptops to use on the school network.

“Once we learn how to move around the network and what it can do, we want to make sure it can do everything including accommodate units that are brought from the outside,” Jeffrey Nennig, the director of technology and assessment, said.   

Concerns about allowing students to bring their own include problems connecting to school printers, according to Nennig.  He has set up focus groups with eighth graders to determine what would work best.  He said that the main concerns that have arisen are what to do if students forget their laptops or if the batteries die.

He has also met with parents and teachers to address their concerns and expectations.

The main purpose is for teachers to plan activities around the use of the technology and to be able to use class time more efficiently by posting videos and other materials for students to access on their own, according to Greco.

Other ways that the school district is using more technology in the classroom is through the use of SMART Boards.  It is also getting WiFi and faster Internet at the high school to prepare for the laptops.  All of this means a shift away from traditional teaching tools. The School Board recently of the district's technological infrastructure. Installation of the upgrades will be completed over summer.

“You know, it’s different,” Greco said.  “When I went to school, there was only one computer in the building, it was the size of a room and kids got to touch it maybe nine weeks out of their entire high school career.” 

Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) May 02, 2012 at 07:25 PM
This will not end well. I'm glad the teachers can hand out these and still afford to eat at the end of the day. Guess they don't need all that money after all.
WEACHATER May 02, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Where are all the liberals complaining about spending? Where is this money coming from, the bogus settlement with Microsoft?
Craig May 03, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Excellent idea, horrible timing....I thought there was a funding problem for the district, or was it just propaganda? The upgrade for internet service and laptops will total over $1 Million! What is wrong with user fees?
Craig May 03, 2012 at 03:53 AM
What's next? Free I-phones for all students because kids are disconnected from mom and dad. It takes a village right? MFSD needs rhinoplasty. ;-P
Steve ® May 03, 2012 at 01:26 PM
first world problems I wonder what a MPS Patch would look like, "MPS today announces it has approved funding for a toilet paper overhaul and that clean drinking water has been restored to 2 out of 15 schools."
Menoparent May 03, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I guess the district has used the savings wisely and put it into education of the kids. We will see? Only time will tell. But not all districts are able to handle the cuts. Every district has their own unique situations.
Bert May 03, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Right, Tulsa, I mean, what is the likelihood that these kids will need to know how to use technology in their careers? We should just buy weed whackers for them, let them learn how to cut crass.
Bert May 03, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Here we have another example of the MFSD taking positive action to increase the level of education available to the kids here in the Falls. Every decent job today requires the use of computers - from doctors and nurses to police officers to marketing people. The fact that we are ONLY NOW, beginning in 2012-13, equipping high school kids with computers should be the outrage. Yet, the same selfish boobs who cry about how much we pay good teachers are on here now saying that they want this money for themselves. There's your agenda. Clear as day. Anything that gets spent on something other than your own personal benefit is to be condemned. That attitude has a name - selfishness.
Craig May 03, 2012 at 06:37 PM
No Bert, "we" shouldn't buy anything for them- that is the parent's job. I can understand the district wanting uniformity and providing the computers, what I do not understand is why the kid's family can't make the lease payments for them? A Million dollars is a lot of money at a time when the district is claiming financial struggles. Break it down; how much is $1 Million per household? The attitude of MFSB is: "it only will cost the average homeowner an additional $10/ year." That attitude over the years has equated to dozens of "only a little extra" which adds up to a helluva lot.
Steve ® May 03, 2012 at 07:05 PM
We have had computers in the district since the first computer labs when I was in grade school. The HS is full of desktop computers, we learned to type in 6th grade I doubt they even have to teach that anymore. They are everywhere and not just in the designated "labs." What household does not have a computer for the kids to use? Can you imagine the facebooking that will be going on all day now?!
Steve ® May 03, 2012 at 07:08 PM
The lease better include the IT support and maintenance. Woot blows out laptops for $350. Gut tells me they got some crappy corporate deal from Dell, just wait till the all crash.
Craig May 03, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Bert you are an idiot. What part of parenting don't you understand? If you have kids, it is your job to provide them with the tools and toys they want. If your son wants to be a balerina and you want the same- you pay for it. Don't ask the Village to raise your kids- although in your case I would suggest sterilization because idiots like you should not propagate the species. Falls has had computer labs for 20 years. Kids who think for themselves learn computer basics and then some at home using the family PC. People like you would want every kid to get a free i-phone too. Cable TV has educational channels, guess that should be free for slackers like you too. There is your agenda, suck the hind teet for everything you can get.
Menoparent May 03, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I don't think the headlines read FREE anything! These computers are for the kids to use in school. They aren't taking them home to keep. I am fortunate to have computers for our kids, some don't and I am not against it. But then now days with you extreme conservatives no one could spend any money on anything for any reason, right?
Jann May 03, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Menoparent: I think they are going to take them home. The article lists one of the concerns as "what if they forget them" and why would they need 350 if it is just for core classes? Sounds to me like they will have full use at home. What if they download a virus and are they going to be allowed to put games on them? I'm all for modern technology at the schools, but I think this is jumping in with both feet first. The argument about someone not being able to print with their own computers is weak. Most of the stuff my kids print off is done at home on our computer. The kids who use their own computer could just save it and print it later or put it on a jump drive and print it on one of the schools computers.
Steve ® May 03, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Network printers are touchy, especially when on a WiFi. IPs change all the time and most 9th graders are not smart enough yet to figure that out. If they issue the laptop they have more control of this, and block downloading and internet use. But whatever, if they have their own multiple x of students = money to pave frigin' shady lane or Menomonee Ave.
Craig May 03, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Funny that they will be able to print anything. The Library at the HS charges 25 cents for a copy- even if it is assignment related.
Craig May 03, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Menoparent: I read the article and not just the headline. Are you claiming there will be a fee for use on the laptops- or is it going to be provided free of charge to the students? It seems a little odd that the students will use them only in school and not take them home to do their actual homework on them.
Jann May 03, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Craig: Now I know why my kids always print at home. I wasn't aware of the printing charge, I just was aware that the schools sort of discouraged it. Guess they went from don't do it here to do it here at a large cost to you.
Craig May 03, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Jann: The part that really got me PO's was when kids couldn't use lockers during gym class- they were told to leave their stuff on the benches. My kid had a book stolen, and the school replaced it at no charge. But her homework assignment was with the book. When she asked for a new copy she was told to go to the Library and have them make a copy. Cash is discouraged nowadays, we even have lunch accounts. So because my kid didn't have 50 cents, she couldn't get a new assignment. This "it takes a Village" crap really PO's me when it applies for only a certain few. In my kid's case, one assignment didn't affect the grade. For another student, it could have been very different.
Jann May 03, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Craig: I never got that info about the gym lockers. What was the reason? Put your stuff on the bench it will be fine there - oh brother!
Craig May 04, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Jann, It goes back about 3 years. The reason was because the school didn't like kids locking a gym locker with their own lock, and there wasn't enough to go around. Seemed like a hoekey excuse to me because there were a lot more kids in the school when I went there. I'd bet it was more about right to search rules and using personal locks. Theft was a common issue because everyone knew the benches were filled with stuff.
Craig May 04, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Hey Bert: I think you have some 'splaining to do, Tulsa points out you work for MFSD. Your posts are made during various times of the workday, and on many different threads. As a taxpayer, I am not paying you to post your leftist idealism when you should be doing your job..... Maybe you should be running a weed wacker and not defrauding the school district. Certainly it should be grounds for termination.


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