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Cochrane Middle School Gets New Computers

One school in the CMS district is positioning itself to be the first to achieve the 1-to-1 laptop initiative. Principal Josh Bishop is a self-described, well, there's really no other way to say it: "A nerd. You can say it. I'm... I will frequently tell my staff, you know, 'I'm a nerd, and I'm proud to be a nerd,' says Bishop. What Bishop calls 'nerdy' is really just a love for technology, and that's why every 6th and 7th grader at Cochrane Collegiate Academy has a laptop. To date, Cochrane has spent $250,000 of its federal Title 1 funds on approximately 360 laptops, a school wide network infrastructure, and professional development for the school's teachers. Every 6th grader has had a laptop since April. The entire 7th grade just got them at the beginning of this school year. The payoff? Bishop admits that that jury is still out. "That's the part that has really yet to be answered. When you implement them on a very small and limited scale and in a very short time period like we did last year, I don't know that you can really accurately measure their level of effectiveness." After a full year under their belts, though, Bishop says he definitely plans to track the difference in student achievement. But he says he's already seeing a difference. "You walk into a classroom where our students are on their laptops, that is a very engaged classroom," he says. "Seldom do you see students who are off task. Seldom do you see students who put their head down for a number of reasons. They really enjoy what they are doing." Bishop's goal is for every student at the school-the 6th through 9th grade-to have to have a laptop or an internet ready device by the middle of next school year.