Juniors receive their new laptops through 21st Century Learning Initiative

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Students look forward to many specific days during their student careers — the last day of school before summer vacation, the first day of deer hunting season, the first day of school each new year and, now, computer distribution day.

Students in grades 9-12 all have their own laptop computers through the 21st Century Learning Initiative at Punxsutawney Area High School (PAHS).

The program has been quite successful since the implementation of One to One Computing, said PAHS Principal Dave London.

London said Tuesday was significant because that was the day that the students in 11th grade received their computers for the year.

“Since we launched the program, we have always made it a policy to give the juniors the new computers,” London said, adding that, academically, one’s junior year is the most important year.

“We want the junior class to have the latest technology for its most important academic year,” he said.

London said that most of the computers at the high school are three years old or newer.

“These are MacBook Pros, and they have stainless steel-looking covers and look different than the white covered computers,” London said, adding that they are very nice machines, and he wants to make sure the kids take good care of them.

The computer distribution took place in the PAHS Library, as each home room was called down for each student to receive his or her computer.

Darren Hack, PAHS assistant principal, handled the distribution, and the student had to have a signed form by the parent or parents the students live with in order to receive the latest in computer technology.

Robbie McMeekin, PAHS computer tech, said the new MacBooks have four gigabytes of memory, while last years’ had just two gigs of memory.

“With more RAM memory, the kids can be searching on the Internet and have Word and Excel documents open at the same time,” McMeekin said, adding that the new computers also have the new OSX Lion operating system, which is an upgrade from last year’s OSX Snow Leopard operating system.

London, at a recent school board meeting, said the district has had a real advantage since it first began this initiative in 2006.

“One machine, one vision, one image — everyone has the same machine,” London said. “We had a local effort that put together an infrastructure and technology training.

“It was all made possible due to great board cooperation,” London said, adding that the computers were even distributed to the middle and elementary schools.

Gerald Gigliotti, director of Instructional Technology and technology coordinator, said at that meeting, that no one is using chalk anymore, right down to kindergarten classes in the Punxsy district.

Parents who have questions about One to One Computing should check out the district website at www.punxsy.k12.pa.us and click on technology.