COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE: Charter school students wowed by gift of netbooks

Eight-year-old Anthony Brown and Adrian Martinez, 16, were test driving a fancy netbook, solving a problem about temperature and friction for a bunch of dignitaries visiting Pikes Peak Prep charter school this week.

On the screen, a balloon drifted and stuck to a sweater. Anthony said it would be a neat thing to do that to his sister’s hair. “The balloon would stick,” he predicted.

Then Principal Patricia Arnold told him something even more exciting about the computer.

“I get to take it home to study? Wow!,” the third grader said. “I just thought I got to use it. I like the science about it.”

In fact, all 260 students at the K-12 school will have their very own netbooks for classroom and homework, thanks to a collaboration between companies.

Arnold said 73 percent of the students are from low income families and many don’t have access to computers at home. Founded in 2005, Pikes Peak Prep is a free public charter school at 525 E. Costilla St.

Not only did the school get the netbooks, but also the aircards that make transmission possible almost anywhere, and the software to make it all work. The internet costs are paid for by a federal program.

The gifts were provided through One Air Card, One Child, One Dream, a charitable project of Indiana-based Wireless Business Solutions, a national Minority Business Enterprise.

The One Dream program supports underserved students in urban schools, said Bob Logan, WBS president. Through its collaboration with Sprint, the aircards and netbooks were provided.

“I thought it was too good to be true, but here they are. It’s a huge gift,” said KevinTeasley, president of GEO Foundation, which helps start and support charter schools, including Pikes Peak Prep. “They approached us a year ago after touring one of the schools. They wanted to help us put tech in the hands of low income students.”

He noted that more than 1,300 students at four GEO schools will receive netbooks.

On Thursday, kids were already deciding how they would use the netbooks.

Anna Hook, 14, said, “It will be at my fingertip. I have to do a research paper on a scientist.”

Adrian Lopez, 16, said he would use the netbook for a power point presentation. “I’m doing a Shakespeare paper on marriage customs,” he explained. “This is cool.”

By Carol McGraw, The Gazette


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