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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — From cobras and exotic turtles and rare spotted cats, Starkville schools are mixing some old-style hands-on education with technology to improve education.

The district has obtained a collection of pelts, skins, shells and other items from federal wildlife officials to expand its environmental studies program in the third, fourth, and fifth grades.

The skins are confiscated from poachers and tourists who try to bring them into the country illegally. The school board got a chance to see some of the items during its meeting today.

“It gives our students exposure to some things they wouldn’t normally see in the classroom,” explained Dr. Lewis Holloway, the district’s superintendent.

The board also approved a three-year lease agreement to provide laptop computers to each of the district’s 360 teachers to improve coordination of everything from less planning to parent communication.

The lease will cost the district about $120,000 a year and will allow teachers to take the laptops home to continue research, grading and other duties. Their current desktop computers will be used to expand student technology in the classroom.

“It’s another part of our effort to improve technology and get parents more involved in the classroom and schools by allowing teachers to constantly update student information available to parents on the Internet,” Holloway said.

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