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Buffalo Schools targeting grades 5, 6, 9 for new computers this year

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo Public Schools are buying more and more computers for students, as the district works on a $56 million technology plan to get one laptop or tablet to every student and install WiFi antennas on the growing network of community schools to serve the surrounding communities.

An unknown number of students in city schools do not have computers and an unknown number do not have web access at home. There also are areas in the city with very bad internet service.

By providing computers to students, the goal is to help these kids grow up and compete - not just with students from the suburbs, but students in a global world. Schools

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash said today's students are growing up in a computer world.

"They are already facile with mobile devices and computer devices," Cash said. "What I need them to do is early on in their education - from pre-school on - to use the power of technology to grow their literacy skills, their numeracy skills, their vocabulary and so forth and we have that technology here now."

The computers and the technology are being rolled out across the city. Instructional Technology Supervisor Sarah Edwards said many of those schools are nearly completely equipped.

"Our focus on in rolling out one-to-one, which is the target of every 3rd-12th grader," Edwards said. "So this year will be district-wide to be able get through all of the fifth, sixth grades and minimally ninth grade. Although, in some high schools, it will be much more than that. Already in some of our innovative high schools, they started as one-to-one, so already there are one, two or even three grade levels in some of those schools."   

Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
Students inside a West Hertel classroom using iPads.

On the other side of the program, teachers will get training to make maximum use of the computers. As the computers are hooked up, teachers can access new teaching modules and lesson plans created by teachers who are already online.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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