Henrico County Public Schools is the first winner of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Trailblazer award for the school system’s Teaching and Learning Technology Initiative. The award is due, in part, to their laptop initiative program that utilizes Apple iBooks. Created by the NSBA and a review panel of educators, the Trailblazer award recognizes “extraordinary leadership in the area of educational technology.”
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Henrico schools teamed with Apple and launched the Teaching and Learning Technology Initiative. iBooks were deployed to all high school students and teachers at the beginning of the 2001-02 school year. As we reported in May, middle school students and teachers will also utilize laptops beginning with the 2002-2003 school year. The school system has made a deal to purchase over 20,000 iBooks.
The laptop initiative also developed a partnership with an Internet service provider that provides students in need with low-cost Internet service at home. In addition, parents may go online to find information on attendance, grades and teacher comments so they stay updated on their children’s progress.
“Henrico County Public Schools is not only the very first recipient of the Trailblazer award, it’s also a 1996 Salute District,” said Ann Lee Flynn, director of education technology for NSBA, in announcing the Trailblazer award. “The fact that it is one of the nation’s highest achieving school systems in terms of academic performance is an indication of its trailblazer spirit and demonstrates why Henrico is so often recognized by the NSBA.”
Henrico’s laptop initiative, the largest districtwide laptop installation in the country, is paving the way and supporting an extensive research effort that will benefit future efforts to expand one-to-one computing opportunities, she added. The project will be showcased during an NSBA site visit to Henrico schools in March titled “The Future is Now … Our Children Can’t Wait.”