Backpacks will be lighter and lockers less crammed in August as Apache Junction's Cactus Canyon Junior High School will phase out textbooks for the 2011-12 school year.

In place of the bulky, expensive, and often outdated textbooks we are all familiar with, incoming seventh- and eighth-graders at Cactus Canyon will each be issued a Netbook computer where teachers will upload course materials and assignments. Students will be able to log on in the classroom, at home, or any other ‘hot spot' to complete and download class work.

"This is our biggest step so far in providing the 21st Century classroom we feel is crucial to our students obtaining the information and developing the skills they will need - not just in high school and college, but in any future career or vocation," said Cactus Canyon principal Larry LaPrise.

Seventh-graders were issued the Netbooks last year and for the first time, will be allowed to take the computers home as eighth-graders. Incoming seventh-graders will be issued Netbooks, but will not be allowed to take them home until becoming familiar with their operation and the school's rules for use. Information: Call the district at (480) 982-1110.

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