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Randolph County high school juniors to get laptops

ELKINS, W.Va. — A computer will be purchased for every 11th grader in Randolph County public schools, expanding on a multi-year initiative to develop a one-to-one student to computer ratio county wide.

The Randolph County Board of Education approved the purchase of 273 laptops Tuesday.

The computers, which will be purchased from Pomeroy IT Solutions, will cost the county $172,224, and will be fully funded by the Hardware/Software Technology Levy. The purchase expands on similar measures taken by education officials in prior years to increase student access to technology in every school in the county.

Interim Superintendent Pamela Hewitt said this is the fifth year of the program, which last year provided laptops to every senior.

“The neat thing about this is that once the seniors finish with theirs and the computers are refurbished they go back into the school in which they’ve been used,” Hewitt said. “As a result of that we’re getting a lot of laptop computer labs that are being used within our schools.”

Hewitt noted students at the junior and senior level are generally responsible enough to take care of the computers.

“They treat them like their own. They take really good care of them and they have them to use across all subject areas at that level,” she said. “It also assists them when they start research papers while freeing up the other computers in the school for other students to use.”

Hewitt said the computers have been “ruggedized,” are durable and come with sleeves to further protect them.

Students currently use computer technology in school as supplements to the curriculum, for research projects and for standardized testing. Hewitt said the technology is utilized more every year across all subject areas.

“So many of the programs that we use have coordinating software with it,” she said. “In order for students to have access you need computers for them to use.”

Hewitt said levy funds are responsible for many of the computers in county schools.

“We are trying to embed as much technology into our schools as we can and the levy dollars have been a tremendous asset in allowing us to be able to do that,” she said.

Finance Director Brad Smith said the levy has played a vital role in the five-year program to increase technology in schools. He noted without the levy, Randolph County school’s technology budget consists of about $60,000 per year.

“With a single order here of more than $170,000, we could not do it without the levy,” he said.

Since the current levy is in its final year, officials expect to work on a new proposed levy during the coming school year.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

Officials approved the purchase of 22 laptop computers from Pomeroy IT Solution for teachers at Tygarts Valley Middle/High School for $16,896, using the school’s levy funds for fiscal year 2016.

Board members unanimously agreed to revise Randolph County schools’ dual-credit policy for the upcoming school year to include Glenville State College as a partnering institute of higher education. The policy change is now subject to a 30-day comment period before it can be finalized.

Members of the BOE unanimously approved the Elkins Middle School student handbook for the upcoming school year. Students and parents may access the handbook on the school website or request a hard copy.

Officials agreed to table an agenda item regarding the purchase of a new foam roof at George Ward Elementary School from FoamCoat Roofing and Coatings, Inc., for $186,000 using levy maintenance funds. The item was tabled until more information can be gathered concerning the project’s warranty. The contracting company was the sole bidder on the project. Finance Director Brad Smith said during the meeting he would contact company representatives before the next BOE meeting so officials can make a decision in the near future.

Officials accepted the resignation of Adam Roth as Elkins Middle School’s head football coach.

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