Philadelphia students get laptops


Philadelphia middle and high school students are enjoying new Macintosh laptop computers issued last month and purchased with federal COVID-19 funds.

The district purchased 498 MacBook Air computers and issued them to the students right before Christmas. It was almost like an early visit from Santa Claus.

“I was shocked,” said eighth grader Abby Peebles. “I think the computers are amazing and very helpful.”

Students can take the computers home for use, which Bre-lon Tanksley said is very useful.

“I was happy to get the computer,” Tanksley said. “It is a big help with homework and writing essays. If I don’t have time to finish my work at school, I can use the computer and do it at home.”

Of course, the computers will be turned in at the end of the year. But it is planned that when the next school year starts, the students will get the same one back.

Eighth grade English teacher Sarah Alexander said it is good that now, everyone is working with the same computer.

“Before we got these, everyone had access to the computers,” Alexander said. “But some were newer Chrome books that had been purchased in the last two or three years.

Some were older and had been purchased in the past 10 years. And some were older MacBooks between 10 and 15 years old.

“All of the computers worked but there was no uniformity in the platform we were working on,” she said. “Now everyone has the same thing.”

Alexander added that it was a big day when the computers were issued.

“Our students were issued brand-new computers right before Christmas, so it was like an early present,” said Alexander. “They are very proud and grateful to have the new devices. These computers are top of the line, the best thing out there.”

The district purchased the computers by using CARES Act monies appropriated by the state Legislature, said Superintendent of Education Dr. Lisa Hull.

“We decided to use this money to provide the top-of-the-line devices for our students,” Hull said. “We evaluated multiple devices and decided these best met our needs because of their reliability and the lifespan of the devices.”

The old Macs in the district had come to the end of their life expectancy. “These devices had served us well,” she said. “Our students and staff were already familiar with the device.”

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