As winter break ends, kids across Ventura County are returning to their backbreaking work — not their homework, but rather their lugging of heavy textbooks around school and sometimes all the way home.
Local schools have tried several solutions. Some issue two sets of the heaviest books, with one meant to be kept at home. In other cases, parents buy a "home set" of textbooks from publishers or online resellers. Often, these books remain the standard of instruction for years and can be sold again online, but other times, the books become expensive dust-gathering devices on home bookshelves.
Another solution, prevalent in schools without lockers, involves students storing textbooks in the classroom. Classroom storage, however, can create a problem when homework requires the textbook. Students must carry the book home and then remember to bring it back.
The De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts in Ventura has another solution. Using a federal grant in 2010, the middle school bought notebook computers for each student. The netbooks are equipped with Microsoft Office Suite, including programs such as Word and Excel. The school district purchased discounted licenses in bulk.