Beginning in November, Central York freshmen will have all-day access to their own iPads.
The iPad program was a huge success last year when it was piloted in select classrooms, according to Superintendent Michael Snell.
"We have always been a leader in learning with technology," said Snell, "This initiative will allow our students to customize their learning experiences."
The district, which has not had a tax increase the past two years, set aside $250,000 in its 2012-2013 technology budget for the iPad purchase.
That amount will purchase 500 iPads, along with all needed accessories, including docking stations and protective covers.
"We are not budgeting anything beyond what we normally budget for technology," said Snell. "We are simply targeting the deployment of this technology to our ninth-grade students."
Snell told the school board that he expects to see significant savings in textbook costs and copying.
"Our goal is to eventually move to paperless classrooms," he said.
Board member Gregory Lewis said he had a lot of reservations when the district was considering a one-to-one laptop initiative a few years ago, but that he is in total support of the new approach.
"This initiative will save us a significant amount per student," said Lewis.
Snell said that a parent letter will be sent home next month to all ninth-grade students explaining the initiative.
The iPads will only be available during the day, and students will not be allowed to take them home.
Since each freshman will be assigned an iPad, they can customize it with apps that suit their classes, bookmark specific websites, and be able to have constant access to it throughout the day.
Spokeswoman Julie Romig said there are no immediate plans to purchase iPads for other grades, but she pointed out here are some iPads available districtwide already. This program is Central's first effort to concentrate on getting an entire grade level access to the mobile devices to expand the use of technology in the classroom.
Ninth grade was chosen in part because the high school's infrastructure is already well-suited to offering the devices, she said.
Last year's pilot involved a few middle and high school classrooms having iPads for each student, and it appears students took advantage of the technology, Romig said.
A handful of iPads are also available in the district's cybercafé, an after-school learning center, for those who need access outside school hours.
More information on the initiative will be presented in at a December board meeting.
- Reach Wendy L. Garman at email@example.com. Dispatch staff writer Andrew Shaw contributed to this report.