ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WPMI) Big news coming out of Baldwin County schools. The board has decided to expand their Digital Renaissance to middle schools.
The program to put Apple laptops in the hands of students and teachers has been successful so far in the county's high schools. Even gaining recognition from Apple. It will now cost the district $3 million to expand the program to middle schools.
At the middle school leve, it's still the old computer lab that reigns supreme.
"It gives them capability in all subjects but one of the exciting things is that every 7th and 8th grader in our county will have access to learning a foreign language next year. It's a first for us and first in Alabama," said Baldwin County School Superintendent Dr. Alan Lee.
The move approved by the Baldwin County School Board Monday night shifts $3 million in discretionary money each year for three years to the laptops.
"We have been waiting for this. I've seen it coming for years and years, and it's coming a lot sooner than I thought it would. So I'm glad the money was spent this way," said Central Baldwin teacher Gina Portera.
Teachers like Becky Jones who have been teaching for more than 20 years say the laptops are great, but the school board could have done better.
"I think we are all a little disappointed when you consider some of the other things that they are choosing to spend money on instead of the teachers, which is where the teacher meets the student," said Jones.
The board voted to give teachers a 1 percent pay raise instead.
Middle school students will get the laptops beginning next fall and if you ask any of them, they'll tell you it will make a world of difference.
There may be some disappointed teachers but for 8th grader Darius Hardnett, who this year has had to share his laptop with others, having his own is good news.
"It will change a lot because we will have where we can save our own data and we don't have to worry about other people getting in our way. We wont have to worry about all the stuff other people could do to our work," said Hardnett.