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No iPads on first day of classes for students in LA Unified

L.A. Unified handed out iPads to 1,500 teachers in first part of technology program. But at the start of school, students still hadn't received theirs.
L.A. Unified handed out iPads to 1,500 teachers in first part of technology program. But at the start of school, students still hadn't received theirs.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

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The Los Angeles Unified School District’s iPad pilot program is starting this school year – just not yet.

The district said it would supply tablets to all students and teachers at 47 schools by August, records show. But on the first day of school Tuesday, seven schools that spoke to KPCC said they didn’t have the tablets for their students yet – and wouldn’t until as late as October in some cases.

District spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry said L.A. Unified would not answer questions about the equipment until after Labor Day. She also declined interviews on behalf of principals at several schools contacted by KPCC.

Principal Cynthia M. Williams of Cimarron Avenue Elementary in Hawthorne, and a handful of other principals who did speak to the station said they were told early on that the iPads would be distributed in phases. Students at her school won’t receive them until October.

“I am happy to not receive them on the first day of school,” Williams said, because it’s already such a hectic day.

Broadacres Avenue Elementary School principal Patricia Scates is thrilled her school won’t have to wait too much longer.

“We are one of the first 47 schools to receive iPads. We are extremely excited, our parents are excited, we feel it’s long overdue. Our students can’t wait to put their hands on it,” she said.

In one classroom at her school, a teacher was showing students her device Tuesday. The district started training teachers on Aug. 5 and issued them their tablets during that instruction.

“The teacher is sharing her iPad with the students in the classroom even on the first day of school, so they’re taking pictures of each other, they are just ready for the iPads to hit our campus,” she said. She’s expecting them at the end of the month.

The school board voted on June 19 to spend $30 million to equip the pilot schools with the devices and specialized software. Officials hope to roll it out district-wide as soon as next year.

Peter Hastings, principal at Fleming Middle School in the South Bay, said when his school gets the tablets, they'll be meeting with students and parents to explain all the responsibilities that come with using them.

According to the district's student and parent iPad agreement form, students will be responsible for paying for the iPad if it is lost, stolen, or damaged.

When did the school board approve the iPads? On June 18, 2013 LA Unified school board approved the iPad for use in CCTP.
What will the program cost LA Unified? An estimated $500 million by December 2014.
How many students will receive iPads? 600,000-plus students by Decemeber 2014 .
When will students receive their iPad? Full rollout to all district schools by December 2014. However, the district will distribute the iPads to schools in two phases before full rollout. Phase one ends August 2013 and Phase two ends in July 2014.

SOURCE: LA Unified.