The McKinney ISD board of trustees approved a student laptop initiative May 19 that provides nearly 14,000 MacBooks for schools throughout the district.

The current MISD laptop program issues laptops to students at the high schools. With the expansion to the program, every student in the district will be given a laptop starting in the third grade.

“In light of all the things that have happened during this quarantine, I believe it’s in the best interest for us to expand [the program],” Superintendent Rick McDaniel said during an April 28 board meeting.

The initiative is funded by savings and interest earnings from the 2016 bond program. The price of the laptops totals about $10.5 million for the 2020-21 school year, which includes the devices and any support services, officials said.

“This will essentially put a computer in the hand of every student at MISD,” McDaniel said.

Laptops will be issued to every student in grades three and eight, meaning that a third-grader coming into the school district will end up using two MacBooks over the entirety of his or her time at the school district.

“Personalized technology is the vehicle that makes a blended learning environment move forward," said Lara Lindsey, the district's director of instructional technology, said in a news release. "Although new devices are exciting, this expansion is less about the ‘stuff’ and more about a change in our teaching and learning practices to include the right tools at the right time.”

The technology expansion aims to provide equitable technology for all MISD students, a district news release said. The district will use technology already on hand to expand technology to students in its PreK through second grade classrooms, the news release said. Campuses will assign iPads and laptops to each kindergarten through first grade classroom, while second grade classrooms will have a computer available for each student that will be stored in carts in the classroom.

“I think this is a really good time to do this when we’re facing this question of how we’re going to be doing school work next year,” board member Lynn Sperry said. “I think we’re going to be well-prepared if we can support this program so that every child does have access to a computer and is able to do their best working from home if that is what becomes necessary.”

McDaniel thanked the board for its support, saying the initiative will leave a mark on students and their education.

“That is going to be a game-changer for McKinney ISD for years to come,” he said.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include additional information from the district.