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On June 2, Jim McHolland, principal at Chute Middle School, told School Board members that he had come bearing gifts worth $1.3 million. That is the estimated value of a 1:1 iPad initiative that Digital Promise has offered to provide at Chute Middle School and at the sixth-through eighth-grade levels at King Arts Magnet School.

Digital Promise is seeking to partner with District 65 as one of only four school districts in the country to roll out a 1:1 iPad initiative, said Joe Caravello, director of technology services.

Under the iPad initiative, Digital Promise will provide an iPad for each student and teacher in the project and also provide a secured/filtered cellular data plan for each iPad for internet access away from school. In addition Digital Promise would provide $25,000 for a full-time coach at each school and professional development for all teachers.

Mr. McHolland said the offer came through a contact of his. He said the proposal would give kids from low-income households “an equal playing field” by being able to have an iPad and internet access when they go home.

He said the proposal was presented to teachers at the two schools and there was 100% buy-in. He said parents would be required to listen to a short video as part of the package.

Mr. McHolland said a “storyteller” would document the process. He said Verizon may use the storyteller’s work as part of a national campaign and possibly in commercials.

The District will likely incur some additional expenses to go forward with the project, but at the end of two-years it would own the iPads. The Board is expected to vote on whether to accept the offer at its next Board meeting.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...