School board distributes notebooks

Members of the board of education in Baldwin Park, Calif., recently leased 900 Compaq Computer Corp. notebook computers and gave them to teachers and administrators in all of the district's 21 schools.

The move was a response to the board's realization that local teachers were falling behind in their technology know-how. "We were lagging behind," said Kathleen Gair, president of the Baldwin Park Board of Education. "We saw that there wasn't even accessible data to teachers that would help them raise test scores in the district. We needed to upgrade the technology."

Because of this, the five-person board split up, and each led a different "data team" responsible for four of the district's schools. The data teams were composed of teachers, administrators, community members and someone from the district office.

The teams quickly came to the realization that their schools were in desperate need of upgraded computer technology and were willing to do whatever was possible to improve that situation.

"The better the individual teachers are with the computers, the more they will use them in the classroom...and the more the kids will learn," Gair said.

The computers are being leased for $1.8 million for three years, and Compaq employees will teach some of the training classes to get the teachers and school administrators up to speed on the equipment.

Teachers from every school and grade level will have access to the new computers. "The teachers signed up for it, and we want them to take the computers home and play with them -- really use the computers... because as you increase the knowledge of the teachers, you increase the knowledge of the students," Gair said.

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