ITS donates $200K of tech to Leon County Schools
“Everyone went remote last year, and we wanted to help out Leon County Schools because it was not so easy to transition to remote learning,” ...
... recalls Senior Director of Community Technology Services Ken Johnson.
Last year we found ourselves at the beginning of what would be a long journey of quarantine, working from home, canceled events, learning to rely on our technology and patiently waiting for the pandemic to pass. In the middle of the pandemic, Leon County Schools (LCS) placed an order for Chromebooks to help aide students with online learning. At the start of the new scholastic year in the fall of 2020, however, the Chromebook order was still backordered, and LCS were looking for help. Seeing an opportunity, Information Technology Services sought out a way to aide LCS with a crucial technology initiative and collected and distributed 450 computers and 310 monitors for K-12 students in need.
Attending classes from home can be a challenge for students living in low-income households. Many families do not have the computers or devices required for students to attend virtual classes and complete online assignments. ITS, aware of the issue, saw an opportunity to donate much-needed technology to the local K-12 school system to help alleviate some of the stress that came with the shift to virtual learning. The goal of this effort was to not let circumstance get in the way of a bright future. ITS recognized the importance of students having the tools they needed to learn online and put forth the effort to collect as many computers and monitors as possible for LCS.
ITS staff gathered already available, slightly older devices that were in queue to be upgraded and pushed for faster upgrades so the devices could be sent out to LCS. In total, the value of the donated goods amounted to $200,000. Johnson, however, considers this a cost worth fielding. “We scrambled, but we wanted to help our schools. We had the budget for it. The old systems were about to be replaced. It was just about finding the largest number of computers for the lowest cost.” The lowest cost for the greatest number of computers meant ITS pushed to upgrade and donate the older computers. Thanks to the efforts made by ITS staff, the computers and monitors were distributed to LCS to use as they deemed necessary throughout K-12 classes.
This feat provided one more form of relief for the local community. LCS received the donated systems and were able to make use of them for the Fall 2020 semester. As we all attempted to grapple with the culture shock of COVID-19 and the shift to online learning and working, our community has been strengthened by relying on each other to succeed.