HISD superintendent uses state of school address to stress technology needs

February 1, 2013 3:04:45 PM PST
HISD Superintendent Terry Grier delivered his state of the schools address on Friday, and he talked a lot about having 21st-century schools and giving all students the technology they need to succeed.

It'll take a lot of work. Smaller school districts around the nation are trying to give students take-home laptops. It's one goal Grier would like to see implemented in HISD.

At Scarborough High School, laptops are a way of life for students in the Hiltz Program. The computers are crucial tools for the students to earn an associate degree while in high school.

"I like there is more access to information. There are times when you need to remember things but then you forgot what you learned the previous night, which happens to me," student David Rodriguez said.

Grier would like to see laptops in the hands of most students in the district.

"Every student has a laptop that can be taken home so learning doesn't stop at the school house door," he said.

Grier pushed for the idea of laptops -- eventually 130,000 of them -- at his annual state of the school address. He even used slickly produced videos that featured the Scarborough students.

And for the most part, the idea got a warm reception.

"It's light years behind, it's time, it's past time for that to happen," parent Alma Allen said.

HISD expects to start at the high school level next year. But making it a reality district wide will be difficult because as with everything, it takes money and it's not likely to come from the state.

"Basically reappropriating the money from our budget, and support from the business community," Grier said. "We don't expect any money from the state this year and maybe next, and that's a travesty."

It's going to be a challenge to implement, but Grier says he would like to begin with high schools next year.

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