Georgia's Youth Development Campuses Receive Technology Upgrades
By Nia Testamark
July 9, 2013 — ATLANTA -- Students who got in trouble with the law can look forward to new technology devices in August for the upcoming school year.
The education division of the Department of Juvenile Justice announced it will roll out additional technology upgrades in its classrooms this summer aiming to increase the graduation rate for the next year.
"I am hoping that the technology increases the students' achievement in their reading and math scores and gives hands on experiences with technology," said Audrey Amistad, associate superintendent of Georgia Preparatory Academy.
The academy is the charter school the department established as Georgia's 181st school district where a teen in custody of the juvenile court can earn a high school diploma or general educational developmental certificate. It has 28 campuses, one in each of the department's Youth Development Centers.
In June, the academy awarded 27 high school diplomas and 79 GED certificates at the Eastman, Augusta, Milan, Sumter and Atlanta campuses.
"Our goal is that every youth that leaves our care and custody is a grade level or above where they ranked when they entered our system," said Commissioner Avery Niles.
All of the 28 campuses will be receiving electronic tablets and interactive learning boards. Amistad said she wasn't allowed to disclose the total expense of the technology, only that it was being paid by a combination of state and federal funds.
Each electronic tablet can be used for reading, taking notes and accessing the internet.
They will be used during the month of April to celebrate the Drop Everything and Read program. Amistad decided to do a trial e-reading program with the tablets then since the program is a national, month-long celebration of reading sponsored by publishers reminding people to make it a priority.
"The Drop Everything and Read program helps to reduce the so-called 'summer slide' achievement in reading skills, which can affect Georgia's youth. If we can get our students to enjoy reading, then most times it will show that they will engage in other ways of learning," Amistad said.
Also, every classroom and facility will be receiving am interactive learning board. The interactive learning boards are electronic whiteboards with an electronic pen and a board that can do many tasks at one time. The combined board effects are supposed to help create an interactive learning environment.