WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The fact that 6th grade students who attend the Wichita Falls Independent School district are beginning the new school year with new devices had parents asking why the younger students were the only ones benefiting.
Ashley Thomas, the WFISD Public Information Officer, said eventually all students in middle school will have access to this technology.
However, Thomas said it will be a gradual process that is starting with the current 6th graders and will carry on from each incoming 6th grade class from here on out.
Chromebooks are a combo between an iPad and a laptop, and the ones these 6th graders will receive this Thursday are touch screens.
Thomas said textbooks can be accessed on the devices, and students can share their work with teachers and parents at the click of a button, but getting this technology in the hands of all students is not cheap.
"The district is working toward providing all students with technology. At this point in time, it's not cost effective to be able to provide everybody one right now," said Thomas.
She adds the total cost to provide Chromebooks to these 6th graders was about $310,000.
Instructional Material Allotment was used to make the purchase, along with local funds.
Thomas said although the 6th graders are the only ones allowed to take the Chromebooks home, other students have access to devices, too.
Students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades have this technology in the classroom, and lower grades have iPad Minis.
The WFISD does have a "bring your own device policy" for grades 7 through 12.
This allows them to bring a gadget from home to use during class.
Officials said they also work with parents that do not have internet access, so those students can do the required work at school or have an alternative method to turn things in when they are sent home.
Parents can purchase a Chromebook for their kids at the same price the district pays online.
There's also a Chromebook handbook on the district's website.