"We want this to be a celebration," said MHS Principal David Steward. His comment cued the cheerleaders who performed to Kool and The Gang's "Celebrate Good Times."
"This is one of the most exciting things the board has been involved in," said Dr. J.D. Roberts, president of the R-1 Board of Education. "We think this will be a revolution for Monett schools."
"Legendary educator John Dewey said many years ago, 'If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow,'" said Jungmann. "Providing all students with high quality technology and teachers who are ready to use these tools to impact learning is the next step in our journey."
Jungmann said some patrons have been concerned that technology will come at the expense of "the three R's" or what was good enough in the past.
Jungmann called the distribution of computers "an important first step in helping the students at MHS reach their full potential." Schools that fail to use technology are no different than doctors who refuse to use recent advances in medicine.
"Not using technology is no longer an option and is the equivalent to educational malpractice," Jungmann said. "Schools and educators can no longer refuse to adjust the learning model to take advantage of tools that can have a dramatic impact on student success. I am proud and thankful to be part of a school district that has taken on a new challenge in order to provide better opportunities for the students who walk our halls."
Steward introduced the 19-person committee of administrators, board members, patrons and students who began exploring the computer option last summer, leading to the "One to the World: Cubs Going Global" initiative.
Jungmann praised the school board for moving forward with the plan, The three-year lease agreement with Apple Computers represents an investment between $750,000 and $850,000. Steward in turn praised the technology staff for "countless hours" of work preparing for the rollout.
Students and parents were dismissed to go to specific classrooms. A video prepared by the technology staff was shown in each room, covering issues including: insurance, repairs, handling, cleaning, passwords, software updates and use of external hard drives. Students were directed to have no decorations on their computers or the authorized cases. All repairs must be done by school staff.
The video can be viewed on the school district's website, at monett.schoolfusion.us. Specific questions can be sent via email to email@example.com.
Following the video, students had to complete paperwork and payment for insurance on the machines. Then in each classroom, students were presented a computer by a teacher.
Two representatives from Apple Computers, systems engineer Bret Siegel and sales representative Deb McMurray, were on hand to answer questions. McMurray said she works with school districts across Missouri. She praised the homework and professional development invested in preparation for introducing the laptops, and the organized way in which the process was managed. Other districts will look at Monett as a model, she said.
"School is like taking a trip on an airplane," McMurray said. "Students are essentially strapped down and told to turn everything off. When they're done, students go back to their lives. We're really offering students the opportunity of changing the way they learn. We're empowering them to use the technology they use in everyday life. We're hitting them where they live."
Students spoke highly about getting the computers.
"I'm excited about it," said freshman Hannah Pitts. "I think it will definitely help us improve our use of technology and give students a better chance to feel what it's going to be like once we get out of high school."
Pitts said the first thing she planned to do was go home and charge the computer up, pick the wallpaper for her screen background and explore the installed programs, like iTunes. Her biggest fear was breaking the machine.
Freshman Joyce Cummins said she looked forward to taking notes with the computer, rather than writing her classwork in longhand. She has a cousin in Arkansas who got a laptop in middle school and wished her computer had more cutting edge technology than the basic models students received.
Sophomore Whitney Turner summed up the general sentiment about the laptops.
"I think it's pretty cool," Turner said.
The district has purchased computers for all the high school students. According to office assistant Tina Wormington, about 87 percent or 627 laptops were distributed on Tuesday. Around 90 students gathered in the high school commons on Wednesday morning to view the video and most made financial arrangements and completed the paperwork to secure a machine.
Only a handful have not made arrangements, Wormington said. For those students, loaner computers are available to be checked out and turned back in at the end of the day.
Jungmann was pleased with how the evening went, but said the beginning of school on Wednesday would mark the true introduction of the computers.
"Let the fun begin," Jungmann said. "It's an exciting time."