— Editor’s note: The News Courier plans to run a series of articles explaining the Power Up Program to students and parents leading up to the 2014-2015 school year.
In a little more than a month, Athens students in grades 7-12 will receive laptops to be used at school and at home.
The initiative, known as the Power Up program, will put the devices in the hands of area students before school starts back this fall.
Athens City Schools officials have already launched the Power Up website to help students, teachers and parents become acclimated with the program.
According to school officials, a student enrolled in Athens Middle or Athens High will qualify for use of a district-owned MacBook Air.
The program does come with a student fee. Athens students will pay a $50 user fee for the first child and $40 per child for families with multiple children in the school district. Financial help will also be available to low-income families.
Handbooks will be sent home with students, and parent and student orientations will be held next month.
The Power Up website at http://powerup.businesscatalyst.com includes information about the program, including frequently asked questions, copies of handbooks and forms, device basics, resources and information on digital citizenship such as privacy and security, Internet safety, cyberbullying and more. The website also includes the purpose of the initiative and implementation plan.
The Power Up Program is funded through the city’s 1-cent sales tax. The school district is receiving 20 percent of the tax for Power Up, which will cost more than $2 million over the next four years.