A faculty meeting at Woodrow Cummins Elementary School quickly turned from work to fun when the Parent Teacher Organization acted as Santa, delivering a gift that has been on several teachers’ wish lists for a while.

PTO President Jennifer Seifert presented a wrapped cart to the group Monday afternoon, asking one teacher to unwrap the gift on behalf of the rest of the teachers. She was then met with shocked faces, cheers and a standing ovation when the teachers realized the school had 30 iPads to make a mobile lab for students to use.

Once the PTO finished paying off the school’s playground, they were able to start providing things teachers wanted in the classrooms. Last year teachers made wish lists, and one of the top items was an iPad.

"Since Woodrow Cummins is not a Title I school, we do not have as much technology as the school would like to have to put in the kids’ hands," Seifert said.

A Title I school receives federal funding because of poverty levels. Woodrow Cummins does not meet the qualifications and therefore does not receive those federal dollars.

Seifert said she went to Walmart on Dave Ward Drive at the beginning of the school year to see what she could get for the school. After explaining the situation, the store was able to give them a discount, bringing the price of each iPad down from $349 to $289. Additionally, they were able to purchase cases for all 30 iPads for around $30 each.

"We just really wanted to give our school some technology that we do not have," Seifert said.

Last year, the PTO was able to donate $1,000 per grade level in items for the kids, but they were not able to get the iPads.

Teachers in other schools have used iPads for many different subjects, and the teachers at Woodrow Cummins seemed overjoyed at the prospect of utilizing those tools.

The largest class at Woodrow Cummins has 28 children, so there should be enough iPads for a teacher to bring to his or her classroom and each child be able to have one to work on projects and learn through education-focused apps.

Additionally, teachers will be able to use the iPads with technology already in the classrooms, such as SMART Boards.

The money for these tools came from PTO fundraisers, including the Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough sale in the fall and the World’s Finest Chocolate fundraiser last spring.

"We try to keep it to a minimum, but this is one of the reasons we do these fundraisers," Seifert said. "It’s not to go buy cookies and teacher appreciation gifts, we buy stuff for the school and this is one of the big things they wanted."

(Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached by email at angela.spencer@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1212. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)