Some district policies were discussed and approved during the Sweetwater ISD (Independent School District) Board of Trustees' monthly meeting in March.
For next year, the SISD Student/Parent iPad User Agreement will impact students in the seventh through tenth grades--along with their parents--as the four grade levels will have the mobile device. While still in discussion, sixth graders may possibly be added with a transitionary period of in-class use in the first semester before taking them home.
The plan is to give the iPads to students before the end of the school year so that they can learn more about the new technology prior to the start of the fall semester. Thus, parent meetings on the device and its policy would also take place before the next school year to discuss security measures.
During the summer, the iPad would also have assignments that students could complete. Students could access wi-fi internet in various areas across town, including Sweetwater Middle School (SMS) where benches are set up.
Changes in the policy, however, deal with loss and replacement. Fortunately, the district has seen a small percentage of loss of the devices.
In the instance that iPad is lost for the first time, a police report must be completed. While the replacement coverage is for the first iPad only along with the annual $50 fee, the accidental coverage is for two instances, as part of the new changes.
However, the new policy states that the loss of a second iPad is not covered under insurance, and the student is responsible for the full replacement cost of about $600, which includes the warranty.
In addition, the SISD Policy and Procedures for Academically Gifted and Talented Students was approved, after some state mandates led to updates which were developed by Region 14. The policy was also updated to be personalized for the district.
The current numbers in the gifted and talented program across the district were discussed, along with the way the program is used among campuses like Sweetwater Intermediate School (SIS), SMS and SHS (Sweetwater High School).
For instance, the Destination Imagination program has been incorporated to the higher elementary and middle schools. However, many students at SHS will pull out of the gifted and talented program to pursue Dual Credit courses.
The board also discussed gifted and talented traits from an artistic standpoint compared to an academic perspective and how it might be promoted in the future. While the district's program is geared for the latter group, many students--who might not be in the program--have another form of giftedness and excel in the arts.