March 20, 2013 - When Clear Lake Principal Bradley Bigelow showed up to Sarah Rosenthal's fourth-grade classroom with a large box, they knew they were getting a surprise, but they didn't know what.
Clear Lake students Isabella Paramo (left) and Zachary Moenart do research together using an iPad. Photos by Trevor Keiser. (click for larger version)
"The looks on their faces when I started pulling the (iPad) Minis out of their box was just priceless. They were extremely excited," Bigelow said. "We started searching different topics they are currently researching for their IB unit."
"I love them," Rosenthal said. "They are a great educational resource for research, for playing math games and just for enhancing their learning."
Bigelow said the iPads would also help them put student portfolios into a digital format.
"This lends itself extremely well to being able to do that more easily and having the kids help us and assist us in that process," he said.
The 20 iPad Minis were not purchased by the school district. They were acquired and donated by Clear Lake's PTO for the school to share along with a syncing tray and a computer to run them.
Total cost was $9,000.
"We just have had a surplus of funds and decided that technology in the children's hands was the best way to spend it," explained PTO President Kelly Abraham.
Bigelow said he originally pitched the idea to Abraham last fall about working on a proposal and possibly purchasing some devices for the kids.
"I rolled it out to them at our PTO meeting Feb. 7 and they all thought it was a great idea, so obviously we would not have the devices without their support," he said. "We're extremely grateful for them helping us out with this."
He wasn't the only one.
"I think they'll be a really good way to learn," said Connor Vittetoe. "It was nice of the PTO to donate them to us."
Classmate Alexis Cardona agreed.
"I think they're awesome and that they'll be awesome for the school," she said. "It was really nice of Mr. Bigelow to get these for the school and I hope we get more for all the school to share."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.