High school textbooks to go digital in Tallapoosa County

Updated: Sep. 13, 2017 at 4:14 PM CDT
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

TALLAPOOSA CO., AL (WSFA) - Unlike most students after Christmas break, students in Tallapoosa will look forward to being back in class thanks in part to a sales tax increase.

According to school district officials, 1,200 high school students will be handed new Chromebooks or laptops. This device will effectively end the need for tattered and worn hardcover textbooks.

The school district is expected to pay around $251,000 for the devices, courtesy of the one cent sales tax increase imposed by the county commission.

Justin Bice is itching to get the latest and greatest technology.

"It will make it easier for us to do," the Dadeville High School senior said.

"Our kids are going to grow up in a different world than you what you and I grew up in," said Tallapoosa County Public School Superintendent Joe Windle.

County school leaders started laying the groundwork to improve technology for the schools three years ago. Only students in the three high schools will get them in January. Later, the plan includes buying more laptops for the lower grades.

"The world they've got to compete in will be a technology-rich world," said Windle.

The new technology is huge deal for veteran school teacher Greg Shelton.

"It gives the kids the ability to do way more research," Shelton said.

In fact, Tallapoosa County students haven't had new textbook in 10 years except in reading and math. While it all sounds exciting, there is a concern; about 15 percent of the students in Tallapoosa County don't come from homes with internet access. Windle hopes local churches and businesses can help fill that void.

Superintendent Joe Windle tells WSFA 12 News the school district has a built-in firewall and filters within the chromebooks that will monitor what students are looking at. Tallapoosa County high school teachers begin training in October.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.