LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More students in Jefferson County Public Schools will have better access to technology through a donation of 200 iPads given to the district by a local e-commerce company on Wednesday.

The gift, announced at Western Middle School by Superintendent Donna Hargens and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, brings the total number of certified pre-owned iPads donated to JCPS by Gazelle, a leading e-commerce brand that buys and sells pre-owned consumer electronics, to 300 over the past two years.

This year’s donation is valued at $86,000. A district spokeswoman said the iPads will be awarded to schools through a proposal process.

“Louisville – our distribution center’s base – has been a vital part of our business for years; its great workforce, dedication to innovation and major shipping hub are attractive factors for us,” said Scott Zachow, senior director of processing center operations for Gazelle. “We are incredibly happy to do our part preparing Jefferson County students for the future, and we’re hoping that some of the students we’re helping today will one day be our employees.”

Fischer said the city is "deeply grateful for Gazelle’s investment in our young people."

Hargens said putting technology "into the hands of our students not only opens new learning opportunities, but it brings the possibility of interacting with the entire world into their classrooms."

"This generous gift will have a profound impact on our young people, and, coupled with Gazelle’s donation of iPads last year, will make a tremendous difference in our students’ modern skills capabilities," she said.

Last year, Gazelle donated iPads valued at $25,000 for students at Crosby Middle, Farnsley Middle, Johnson Traditional Middle, Knight Middle, Meyzeek Middle, Moore Traditional, Noe Middle, Ramsey Middle, Thomas Jefferson Middle, and Westport Middle Schools and Western Middle School.

Students from Western Middle, which received 18 of the donated iPads last year, have showcased how they’ve incorporated the tablets into classroom work. Using the iPads, they developed programs to bring the periodic table to life, make book reports more engaging and produce claymation demonstrations, among other applications.

“Today’s youth are fixated more on using technology to communicate so it only seems fitting to provide them with a variety of modes to do so,” said Western Middle School Principal Kym Rice. “The iPads have allowed our students to create, discover and manipulate in ways that we were never able to do when we were in school. I am excited about this endeavor and look forward to this enhancing student achievement even more at Western Middle School.”

About 150 of the 200 iPads will be distributed directly to schools, to be incorporated into classroom work. The remaining 50 tablets will support English Language Learners (ELL) programs through the Louisville Free Public Library and the JCPS Family Learning Program (FLP). The tablets will assist the growing English as a Second Language community by breaking access and language barriers to educational resources.

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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