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BOONE GROVE | Porter Township elementary and middle school students will soon be getting iPads to use in the classroom and at home.

The school board voted last week to move forward with the 1:1 Initiative, which was already completed at the high school last year, that will allow students to access information and textbooks, and research, share, store, and edit content.

“We are very excited to jump into this mode of teaching and learning and to put a device in their hands that could be a major tool in their learning,” said Robert Lichtenberg, Boone Grove elementary/middle school principal.

The program will cost nearly $281,000, which includes a leased device for each student, Apple TVs for every classroom, and professional development. The program will be paid for through textbook rental fees, the common school loan, and grant funds.

Superintendent Stacey Schmidt said families will be asked to pay $90 for the device, $30 for a protective case, and standard textbook rental fees.

The district will self-insure the devices, a plan that Schmidt said has worked “beautifully” in other schools and will reduce costs from $75,000 to $40,000 annually. If the device is damaged, parents will pay an insurance deductible and the device will be repaired locally.

The devices will also allow teachers to provide work and instruction when students are at home on inclement weather days.

“The possibilities are endless,” said Lichtenberger. “It will change the way students and teachers teach and learn.”

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Jim Elizondo, of City Securities Corporation, reviewed two options for financing proposed renovations to Porter Lakes Elementary. Elizondo shared with the board models of the potential tax impact of the project.

The options include $10 million bond issues with either 10-year or 20-year financing.

“As we look at Porter Lakes, our concerns are a secure office around that entryway and energy efficiencies we can improve,” said Schmidt. “Those costs all add up, and as we look at these needs, we want to be considerate of our taxpayers and not increase the tax rate.”

Elementary school music teacher Holly Granzow and three of her students presented a special music literacy program.

Granzow reviewed Conversational Solfege, which she said allows her to teach music “like a foreign language.”

“We’re trying to make sure the kids are not only knowing the notes we’re talking abou … but that they’re really internalizing it,” said Granzow.

Granzow and the students demonstrated the program by verbally “echoing” rhythm patterns.

“We talk to them about rhythm,” said Granzow. “This program is so amazing. As you can see, they know it.”

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