LEAD HILL, Ark. -- The Lead Hill School District is on the edge of closing. It needs to get enrollment above 350 students by the 2013-2014 school year.
One strategy they are employing is trying to attract new students with new technology. The school spent between $70,000 and $80,000 buying 150 iPads for students this summer. The iPads will replace textbooks for many of the classes.
The district says, rather than fight technology like many schools do with cell phone policies, it wanted to try to embrace and encourage technology in its classrooms. It hopes the lure of iPads will help attract some new students to get above the 350 it needs to remain open after next school year, as well as help make its current students more employable when they graduate.
"We felt like we could get rid of backpacks and stuff like that at school, possibly get rid of lockers and the congestion that always goes with all the kids trying to get into their lockers," said Lead Hill High School Principal Steve Williams. "Also we felt like just the aspect of students lacking technology."
The district says, if it can get some grant money to buy more iPads, it would like to extend the program all the way into the 5th grade. And, should a student lose an iPad -- well, the district hopes that doesn't happen, but they are considering possibly a refundable deposit that students would get back at the end of the year.
The district says it ultimately hopes the students will take ownership in their new iPads and take care of them.