Onslow Co. Schools expands laptop program for students

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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–The new school year has already begun for some students in Onslow County, and the school system is expanding a program that will have your child bringing home a laptop instead of books.

It’s part of a plan to reduce paper in schools and ensure that all students have the resources they need to learn.

Onslow County’s 1:1 Initiative was first implemented in the 2014-2015 school year and is expanding by 4,000 more students this year.

Students are given laptops at the beginning of each year to use for school work.

The system says it’s more cost effective than buying textbooks for each student and also less for them to carry around.

“We’re really leveling the playing field because now all of the students have the same device,” Ross Friebel, director of digital learning and teaching for the school system, said. “They have the same resources so it’s really a benefit for helping the teacher provide instruction to their student.”

The school system expanded the program this year to grades 3 through 12.

That’s nearly 20,000 laptops, all of which are Dells.

The school system is partnering with local businesses to offer free Wi-Fi for students who don’t have it at home, like Port City Java and Onslow Community Outreach.

“We understand that students don’t always have access to the internet,” Cindy Williams, Onslow Community Outreach shelter director, said. “So by partnering with Onslow County Schools, we are able to assist those students because the access is important to getting their homework done.”

School officials say using the laptops in lesson plans allows for greater flexibility of instruction.

Every laptop will feature filters to protect students from inappropriate content.

Students have to sign a contract at the beginning of the year stating they’ll take care of the laptops.

The school system plans a final roll out of the program next year where grades K-2 will receive laptops as well.

There are resources for parents to learn how to use these laptops and keep their students safe.

You can find those on the Onslow County Schools website.

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