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The latest technology comes to schools

Out with the old and in with the new. New technology is on its way to Halifax County Public Schools, thanks to a grant from the Virginia Public Schools Authority Educational Technology Notes Series.


The school system has purchased new Dell computers to use toward online Standards of Learning testing for grades 3-12 using the grant that offers a two-time payment of $284,000, according to Supervisor of Instructional Technology Jeanie Hawks.

The school system is currently working off of series XI and XII. Half of the money will be used to purchase computers to replace labs in the Halifax County High School and Halifax County Middle School. 

Next year the remaining money will be used to replace computers in the seven elementary schools.

“There should be enough money from this to at least begin at the elementary schools,” said Hawks.

The grant series originally was aimed at getting all elementary schools set up for online testing. Since Halifax County Public Schools have been able to test online for some time, they are using the money to keep online testing and to stay updated, said Hawks.

The computers being replaced are still of good use and will be placed in classrooms; however, those past the point of use will be recycled.

“The grant only replaces those computers used for testing,” said Hawks.

“I have to admit I’m really excited about getting the new computers,” she added.

Hawks said school officials have discussed upgrading Samsung Galaxy Tablets administrators use for walk throughs in the schools.

These tablets were purchased last year as part of a pilot program with Verizon.

Currently 15 iPads are in use at the Halifax County Middle School math program through a $262,000 grant from Old Dominion University.

The grant will be implemented over the next three years at the middle school in partnership with Old Dominion University, Johns Hopkins University, the Success For All Foundation and four other forward-thinking school districts as part of the federal Investing in Innovations (i)3 grant program.

John Nunnery, executive director at the Center for Education Partnerships at Old Dominion University, and Paul Miller, project manager for Success For All Foundation, made the announcement during April’s regular scheduled school board meeting.

According to Nunnery, who serves as the principal investigator and project director, the program will be implemented over the next three years at Halifax County Middle School providing support for technology, materials and extensive professional development.

“Halifax County Public Schools did not purchase the iPads. It’s through a grant from ODU, and they are conducting a research project with the middle school,” explained Hawks.

In January school officials plan to apply for series XIII to purchase the remaining computers for use in the elementary schools.