All five Henrico County (Virginia) School Board seats are being contested in the Nov. 4 election for the first time since the county began electing its School Board in 1996 — and the iBook program is a “hot button issue,” according to
a Richmond Times-Dispatch article.
Henrico schools teamed with Apple and launched the Teaching and Learning Technology Initiative. iBooks were deployed to students and teachers at the beginning of the 2001-02 school year. Response has generally been favorable.
“A realignment of the board could signal important changes,” the Times-Dispatch says. “Challengers say most of the School Board members have been rubber-stamping the administration’s agenda and promise to change that approach. Incumbents tout the school district’s successes and pledge to maintain the system’s direction.”
One of those directions is the iBook program. The high school portion of the county’s laptop lease will expire in June 2005. In order for students to keep their laptops, board members must vote to renew the lease. And while the current board has generally supported the iBook program, if the board membership changes drastically it “could result in a change in the district’s move toward computer-based instruction and decreased reliance on textbooks,” according to the Dispatch-Times.
HCPS has been named one of the Top 10 Technology Districts in the nation by the staff of District Administration magazine. An article about the Top 10 designation appears in the December 2002 edition of the publication, which notes that Henrico was chosen “because it was the first district to give Apple iBook laptop computers to every sixth- through 12th-grader.”
Ninety-four percent of parents responding to the 2002-03 Henrico County (Virginia) Public Schools (HCPS) parent satisfaction survey reported being “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the quality of education in the HCPS system. They were also happy overall with the iBook program.