YATESVILLE — Stressing that technology has become a district priority, the Pittston Area School Board on Tuesday night approved purchasing 1,250 new computers, primarily laptops for student and teacher use.
Superintendent Michael Garzella said 1,100 Lenovo Thinkpads and 150 Lenovo desktop PCs for computer labs will be ordered first thing today.
“This gets the devices into the hands of our teachers and students,” Garzella said.
The cost is $577,118 over five years, which amounts to $146,876 for each of four years of the 1.8 percent loan to fund the purchases. Garzella said the money has already been budgeted.
The loan is being furnished through First Keystone Bank and the computers are being purchased through IntegraOne. Both were low bidders.
Ten laptops will be put in each kindergarten through fourth-grade classroom where teachers are starting a hybrid learning initiative. At any given time one group will be getting direct teacher instruction, one group will be working on projects and another will be using the laptops for math and reading skills.
“Software will allow the teacher to group students based on the data from the computer and it will allow students to move at their own pace,” Garzella said. “We want to get to the point where students aren’t being held back.”
Students in grades five to 12 will have access to carts of 30 laptops.
Garzella said the purchase is the second part of the district’s technology plan. The first, he said, was to upgrade the infrastructure in the schools to make each wi-fi capable. That is being implemented.
All the computers and power adapters will be tagged and inventoried through the district warehouse. The units are replacing outdated computers, said district Technology Director Christy Savakinas. She said 95 percent of the computers are more than five years old.
In other business, the board:
• Unanimously voted to hire Nick Barberi as a math teacher. Barberi had been teaching and coaching football at Delaware Valley High School in Milford.
Barberi is the son of longtime Pittston Area football coach Bob Barberi, who retired in 1988. Bob Barberi had been the coach at the former Pittston High School and Pittston Area for 23 seasons.
“We hired Nick because we thought he was the best-qualified math teacher; he has a lot of experience,” Garzella said. “And that’s who the (hiring) committee recommended.”
• Hired Laura Labruto as a special-education teacher. Board member Kent Bratlee said he abstained from the vote because he works for the candidate’s father, and Joe Kelly abstained because he wasn’t part of the interviews.