3rd graders at Jefferson Elementary are getting iPads - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

3rd graders at Jefferson Elementary are getting iPads

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RICHLAND, Wash. --   Tuesday, the Richland School Board gave the green light for a very special project, the first of its kind in Washington State.

Every third grader at Jefferson Elementary School will get their very own iPad as an education tool.

"We're hoping an incredible Cinderella story for us.  These kids don't always have the same advantages as some kids do," says Heather Hadler, a third grade teacher at Jefferson. 

Jefferson Elementary has the biggest number of reduced and free lunches, so giving the kids hands on technology could very much improve their chances for success.  Many of them also fell below standard on their MSP tests.

"In this particular grade we see the highest number of kids that are struggling that we've had in a while, and that we have an almost equal amount of kids that are above average.  There is very little middle ground, " says Hadler.

All the third grade teachers, with Principal Bobbi Buttars,  alongside the district's Executive Director of IT Mike Leseberg decided to check out a similar project happening at a school in Canby, Oregon.  They found in four years, with I-Pads and i-Pod Touches, grades and test scores significantly improved.

"We gotta move all those yellow and red kids into green,blue would have been ideal," said Buttars of her 3rd graders.

But  getting all 60 kids, plus staff, extras and insurance is costly.  "Its about 50 thousand for us to have all three classrooms outfitted and the teachers as well,"says Buttars.

Jefferson is working on contributing $20,000 in donations for the program.  The remaining $40,000 will come out of the existing Richland School District technology budget.  The delivery of the iPads  will come sometime in the middle of December.

The PTA has donated $5,000 and is working on more funding.

If you want to help, please contact Jennifer Wilkerson at 371-9313 or  Peggy Pilger at 308-0484 with the PTA.

They have organized a Jog a Thon· on October 20 at Jefferson Elementary, and also a fundraiser at the Applebee's in Richland on October 22nd from 8:00-10:00 AM.

For more information  click here.