Bye loose-leaf! Students welcomed back with netbooks

ROSEMONT, Pa. - September 8, 2010

They got one extra day to play than their friends in public schools, but today it was time for the 72,000 kids in the Philadelphia Archdiocesan schools to head back to the class.

At Incarnation of Our Lord in North Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter told the kids to set their sights on college and recalled his own parochial school days.

"I am a true beneficiary of a great Catholic school education and it is one of the reasons I am where I am today," Mayor Nutter said.

Meanwhile, at the Rosemont School of the Holy Child, the kids are no longer opening up textbooks; they're now flipping open their new personal laptops.

This year, every 6th, 7th and 8th grader at Rosemont will get their own netbook in a program the school says is one of the first in the nation.

At 3 pounds, the little computer is easily portable and features wireless access, a big step up from what students used before.

"They were going down the hall to get a laptop from a cart, if they had signed them out and they were available, bringing them back to the classroom and we lost valuable instruction time in the process," technology director Jim Breslin said.

Now every kid will be able to access source materials at their desk. Plus, get this: Homework can now be zapped from their kitchen table back to their teachers in one click.

When kids graduate to high school, the netbooks will go with them.

"Everyone gets a computer; it's awesome," student Curran Bowning said.

"This will help me more with my studies and get better grades and help me find more resources," student Emily Siegfried said.

"I think it's a real time acknowledgement of how technology and the classroom are coming together and is completely appropriate and welcomed," parent Patti Boyle said.

Welcome indeed to the future and, in these classrooms, the future is now.

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