PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Phenix City is preparing for a technological upgrade as well as a way to get rid of heavy backpacks on their middle school students' backs.
The Phenix City Board of Education approved the purchase of iPad Airs for all 1,500 students, but it's not mandatory.
The school board said this is phase one of the middle school revitalization project due to a significant drop in enrollment from fifth grade to sixth grade, as well as a decrease in reading and math proficiency.
The iPads are part of the voluntary one-to-one initiative and will cost the parents a $25 insurance fee. If the parent can't pay the fee all at one time, they can pay in increments starting this summer.
The iPads will replace textbooks all together.
There will also be a mandatory hands-on meeting for both parents and students this summer.
"They'll learn where their student can and can't go, what they can and can't do, and we will also teach them how to use the iPad and how to maintain the iPad," said Superintendent Randy Wilkes.
Wilkes added they will learn about the acceptable use policy, as well as what sites are appropriate to browse.
"We have a filtering system here in the school system that disallows students from going where they should not go. When they go home, part of that agreement simply says they're the parents' responsibility. If they go places and do things they're not supposed to, then we'll have to discipline," Wilkes said.
If anything happens to the iPad, such as a cracked screen, parents will have to pay $25 to repair the device. If this happens again the cost rises to $50. If the iPad is lost or completely broken, the device will have to be replaced at about $400.
A new math program will also be introduced. The Carnegie Learning System goes hand in hand with the new iPad technology,
Students will also be taking a digital citizenship class to make sure students know not to give out personal information on the internet including social media sites.
The second phase includes adding state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering and math also known as STEM labs in the classrooms at Phenix City Intermediate School and South Girard School. This will take place in Fall 2016.