But starting this Fall, no longer. All EVSC high schools will take a giant leap into the 21st century.
By a unanimous vote, the school board voted Monday night to buy 7200 laptops from Hewlett Packard and Matrix Integrations at a cost of $460 each--by far the best and lowest bid, says Russ.
"We're giving kids access to digital resources 24/7," Russ says of the program's importance.
"We're teaching students 21st century skills, and it's for everyone. No one gets left out," adds EVSC School Board President, Sally Becker.
The laptops will have safety filters built in to control student's usage, and Russ says they'll be Internet ready both in school and out.
"I can see students doing anything from taking notes to researching," he says.
And the laptops mean teachers will no longer have to book a computer lab.
"It allows teachers to go, 'Oh I have an idea, open your netbooks,' and they're off and running."
Russ says the laptops will be rented at the beginning of the year just like textbooks. The cost isn't set yet, but it will be under $100.
"We're looking at other ways to subsidize these so the whole cost doesn't go onto parents and students," Russ says.
And since the laptops now qualify as textbooks under state education standards, students who qualify for free textbooks will have the laptop rental fee waived as well.
The EVSC will be responsible for all tech support and troubleshooting.
In two years, Russ says he hopes to expand the laptop program to middle school students. In four years, the program will expand to elementary students starting in 2nd grade.