Bridgeport to go high tech

BRIDGEPORT – Bridgeport High School will be bringing the world closer to its students. Starting with the 2014-15 school year, a 1-on-1 iPad Initiative will begin.

“What an exciting time this will be for Bridgeport High School,” Principal Rob Zitzelsberger said during a recent press conference.

Superintendent Ted Downing explained that the school district’s board of education had been looking into this endeavor since early in the current school year.

“We looked at some schools and the board thought this was the way to go,” Downing said. “We looked at Chromebooks and iPads and felt that the iPad had more apps available and more interactive textbooks available.

“There are a lot more things you can do with iPads than Chromebooks. Our technology coordinator, Lisa Clark, made the ultimate decision to go with iPads for what they had to offer and how they could better benefit our students.

“We pride ourselves on the technology that we have at Bridgeport High School,” Downing continued. “This board, since I’ve been here, has always pushed for technology.”

Zitzelsberger added, “Students today need personal technology that provides them with an opportunity to learn anytime, anywhere. Our goal is to have a personal iPad in every student’s hand to use at home and at school to provide access to new information, to promote critical thinking and creativity, to customize learning and to facilitate 21st century skills that our students can apply in today’s world.

“At Bridgeport schools, we are committed to preparing our students as digital learners and critical thinkers.”

Clark said a group from Bridgeport High School visited a school near Dayton that was similar in size and demographics.

“We wanted to use their model because they have been so successful,” she said. “That’s kind of where we started and we’re going into this full-fledged. Technology is everywhere in the world today and we can’t expect our students to learn without technology.

“It is our duty to provide the best possible learning tool for our students, and I think we’ve found it in the iPad,” Clark added. “Not just in delivering the content, but helping to create it. That’s very valuable.”

The iPads won’t come without a price tag, however, but the district has already come up with a plan that has several options. The iPads are priced at $430, with $50 of that including a cover.

“We know there are some families in our district that can’t afford to put down a chunk of money like that all at one time,” Downing admitted. “So, we’ve set up five options they can choose from.”

Those choices include: 1. Student owns iPad privately through an outside vendor. Student brings it to school and uses it according to the school district’s acceptable-use policy; 2. Student will purchase iPad Retina Display from Bridgeport Schools at a reduced cost of $380 so that he/she can download apps and software of choice and use it freely at home. Student will also be able to keep it through the summer and maintain ownership after graduation. Must be paid in full by Aug. 15; 3. Student will purchase iPad Retina Display from Bridgeport Schools on a payment plan at a cost of $430 for the iPad and $50 for the cover. The first $130 is due by Aug. 15 and the student can still download apps and software of choice and use it freely at home. Student will also be able to keep it through the summer and maintain ownership after graduation; 4. Student will use the school-owned iPad Retina Display knowing that she/she may only download stipulated apps and software. The iPad must stay at school over the summer and must be returned at the end of the student’s senior year. An annual $130 maintenance fee must be paid by Aug. 15; 5. Student will not participate in the 24/7 take-home part of the program. They can still use an iPad every day at school after their acceptable-use policy is signed.

Downing said an informational open house is planned for May 20 from 5-7 p.m. Those attending are asked to report to the cafetorium.

“Any parents that want to come and ask questions can do so at this time,” he noted. “Parents from other (school) districts are welcome, as well, to see what we are doing.”

According to Downing and Clark, Bridgeport High School will be the first to offer every student an iPad.

“There are some that do it for certain subjects like math and science,” Downing said. “But none that do it like we’re going to.”

He said there are approximately 250 students in the high school, give or take a few, and that all the information is contained on the district’s website at

“Any businesses that would like to donate an iPad or more to our program for families that can’t afford them are also welcomed,” Downing said. “We are always looking for help from the community.”