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For Immediate Release: March 30, 2007
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

More high school students to get laptops

South Dakota’s Classroom Connections laptop project is expanding. Twenty-one new school districts have been selected to participate in the program, which means 4,600 additional students will receive laptops at the start of the 2007-08 school year. (See list below.) That brings the total number of high school students with laptops to 9,600 in 41 districts across the state.

“Twenty-first century skills are an absolute must in today’s world. Workers need to be able to problem solve, write and speak effectively, and be technology literate,” said Gov. Mike Rounds. “Use of the laptop technology is expected to enhance many of these skills.”

Part of the governor’s 2010 Education Initiative, Classroom Connections provides incentive money to districts to purchase laptops for their high school students. The state provides matching funds – $1 for every $2 invested by the local school district – to purchase laptops for every student in grades 9-12. Districts pay $1,207 per laptop, or $1,335 for tablets. That cost not only covers the initial investment of hardware, software and warranties, it also covers the training of teachers and technology coordinators in the schools.

According to Education Secretary Rick Melmer, the training component of this project is critical to its success. Teachers at the new pilot sites should receive their new laptops in May, and state-sponsored training will take place throughout the summer. The Department of Education has partnered with Dakota State University to provide training for teachers at the new pilot schools. The department also has partnered with the state’s Bureau of Information and Telecommunications to provide technical expertise, support and training for the schools’ technology coordinators.

Districts that apply for a South Dakota Classroom Connections grant must demonstrate that they can meet certain criteria related to capacity, training, anticipated instructional impact, and community commitment. Twenty-four districts applied for grants during this second round of funding.

South Dakota’s Classroom Connections project is made possible, in part, by funding from Citibank.

The governor’s 2010 Education Initiative calls for South Dakota becoming first in the nation for the percent of students going on to college or technical school. Schools across South Dakota are implementing a variety of strategies which target that goal. Besides the Classroom Connections project, these strategies include implementing more rigorous graduation requirements, senior projects, programs that connect K-12 schools to business, and virtual learning.

For more information about the 2010 Education Initiative, visit


South Dakota’s Classroom Connections Pilot Schools

2nd Year: 2007-08

Conde (21 students)

Doland (43 students)

Elk Point-Jefferson (241 students)

Estelline (100 students)

Eureka (72 students)

Gettysburg (105 students)

Huron (720 students)

Lead-Deadwood (275 students)

Madison Central (397 students)

McCook Central (165 students)

Menno (77 students)

Miller (171 students)

Parker (125 students)

Parkston (218 students)

Pierre (907 students)

Platte (150 students)

TriValley (274 students)

Viborg (95 students)

Wall (110 students)

Warner (80 students)

Winner (285 students)