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Delaware Co. School Plans to Buy Seventh Graders Take-Home Laptops

DELAWARE (Tom Bosco/Kate Liebers) -- A central Ohio middle school is buying laptops for its seventh grade students in an effort to close a digital divide.

"Leveling the playing field by giving our students and teachers tools, 21st century tools, is kind of our obligation," Dempsey Middle School Principal Andrew Hatton said.

These Delaware County students are already accustomed to using laptops in the classroom. These tools are not to leave the school, however, creating an advantage for students with computers at home.

World studies teacher Diane Lucas said she communicates with her students online even after class is over.

"(They) send me a message, 'Mrs. Lucas, I'm struggling with this,' and I can respond back to them fairly quickly," she said.

Students can also access the textbook online -- literature that otherwise stays in Lucas's classroom.

In order to close the gap, the district is investing $160,000 to give next year's seventh grade students a Chromebook. Sold for about $300, Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive.

The students will be able to take the computer home and use throughout seventh and eighth grade.

The computers are paid for using funds the district collects in lieu of tax abatements granted to businesses.

District officials said the tools are helping teachers, not just the students, get up to speed.

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