iRock parent education to start

dworthington@heraldonline.comMay 18, 2013 

Rock Hill schools are preparing to roll out the district’s iRock digital initiative, which will put an iPad2 tablet in the hands of every student in grades four through eight.

But before students get their iPads, the district must educate parents about the responsibilities for them and their children.

Parents of students in grades four through eight must buy a $65 protection plan or sign a form accepting financial responsibility before they can take an iPad home.

Parents must attend a “Digital Citizenship” seminar at their children’s school during which the district’s 22-page “Personal Mobile Computing Guide” will be discussed. Parents will then have to sign a form if they want their child bring an iPad home.

The guide covers everything from who is responsible for charging the iPads to the severity of punishment for not following the rules.

The education begins at 7 p.m. Thursday.

At the request of the Rock Hill NAACP, school officials will demonstrate the iPad and answer questions at First Calvary Baptist Church, 623 Crawford Road.

Melvin Poole, president of the Rock Hill NAACP chapter, said he hopes the meeting will prompt an open discussion.

Among the issues he hopes are addressed are access to the Internet for homework when parents don’t have Internet service at home and assistance for families who cannot afford the $65 protection plan.

The school district has a scholarship plan for families that meet certain financial criteria. Officials hope churches and other organizations will assist people who need help paying the fee.

Before school starts Aug. 21, each elementary and middle school will have an iRock meeting for parents. Parents should check with their schools for these meetings, which have not been scheduled.

The district also plans more community meetings.

Letters are being mailed to the parents of all Rock Hill students, explaining how iPads will be used in schools next year. While the district is implementing its one-to-one iPad policy for grades four through eight, iPads also will be in use in other grades.

The district is buying 8,100 iPad2 tablets for students.

iPads bought in 2012 will be used in kindergarten to third grade classes. Educators at each elementary school will determine how the iPads will be used in their classrooms. iPads for these grades will remain at school.

Administrators and parents at each high school are determining the best way to use the several hundred iPads available to them. High school students might be allowed to take iPads home. If so, the same guidelines for students in grades four through eight would apply.

Parents can also allow their children to bring their own computers to school.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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