Eastern Elementary School in Greentown, 10 miles east of Kokomo, has announced plans to purchase around 100 iPads for incoming kindergarten students for next school year. The move is part of the school’s initiative to help students increase their reading skills. The school will load the iPads with digital books and reading apps and will then allow the kindergarten students to bring the devices home.
Eastern Howard School Corporation Superintendent Tracy Caddell says school officials hope this will encourage the children to read the electronic books with their parents.
“It’s the first step of the long-term plan of the school corporation would be able to provide mobile devices to every student,” Caddell says. “Dollars are limited, so the first step, we thought, would be for kindergarten students so that we can begin to get them prepared for reading.
Eastern Elementary School already promotes the use of technology in its classrooms. Students as young as first grade have access to iPad labs, and everyone is encouraged to bring their own cell phones, iPads, Android devices to class for educational purposes.
Money for the iPads comes from the school’s rainy day fund and technology fees. Board member Paul Hubbard says that the board supported the plan unanimously. He says the district has enough money in its rainy day fund to cover the costs.
“It’s money that we’ve transferred over there over the years that’s become a savings account, for things like this,” Hubbard says. “It’s not just for, it’s for things that we can’t afford otherwise, and this is one thing we can use it for.”
School officials say the purchase is part of a five year plan that they hope will better prepare students for the reading proficiency tests they start taking in the third grade.