10/27/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2020 17:00
An effort spearheaded by the LA County Office of Education to close the digital divide for students saw its first tangible result on Oct. 26 with the distribution of high-quality devices with reliable internet connectivity to ninth graders at Dominguez High School in the Compton Unified School District.
Compton USD is one of 52 districts to receive technology that supports distance learning thanks to the LA County Board of Supervisors' allocation of $12.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds. Acting on a proposal from LACOE, the Board's action last month translates to the purchase of 27,000 devices and 21,000 hotspots for students countywide to use at home.
Of the $12.5 million total allocation, Compton USD has received some $1.1 million in devices, including 2,000 Chromebooks and 1,500 iPads as well as hotspots for internet connectivity.
'With most of our students learning from home, a computer device and internet connectivity are now basic school supplies. My priority is to make sure all children in LA County have the tools they need for school success during the pandemic and beyond,' said LA County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo. 'I thank the Board of Supervisors for their support and for making our students' needs a priority. Their support will have a tremendous positive impact on our children and families who have been historically underserved.
Duardo joined with Compton USD Superintendent Darin Brawley to distribute devices to 100 students and families at a morning drive- and walkthrough event at Dominguez High. They are among 500 Dominguez freshmen who will receive new Chromebooks.
'We are grateful to the LA County Board of Supervisors and to Dr. Duardo and the LA County Office of Education, who have taken tremendous measures to assist districts since the beginning of school site closures, and now, partnering with us to ensure that students have access to quality technology to enable them to thrive academically,' Brawley said. 'These new devices will be the latest tools in our distance learning toolbox, ones that allow us to prioritize specific student groups and focus on their learning needs - specifically, enabling our 9th grade students to have access to reliable, high quality devices with a keyboard, which will meet the need of document production, an important part of high school curriculum.'
According to Compton USD Board President Micah Ali, 'It is the critical importance of technology in these times, and the huge impact access or lack of access can have, that is the reason why today's event is so important. Consistency has truly been one of the most difficult pieces to address during the crisis. However, with steps like those being taken today in partnership with our County Board of Supervisors and County Office of Education, we can begin establishing a baseline of technology and network access for all that ultimately enables us to go above and beyond access to technology to access to opportunity.'
LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose district includes Compton, were pleased to see the funding having its intended effect.
'I'm so excited that the Board's financial support for purchasing devices and hotspots is working to help our neediest youth with virtual learning. I'm glad to see that we are working diligently to close the digital divide,' Barger said.
'I'm pleased that students at Dominguez High School were among the first recipients of new laptops, tablets and hotspot access points so that they can keep up with their schoolwork, despite the vast digital divide that continues to concern all of us during this pandemic,' Ridley-Thomas said. 'I look forward to more distributions at schools where students can truly benefit in order to move toward closing the achievement gap and the digital divide.'
Photos: LACOE Supt. Debra Duardo helps distribute new Chromebooks to students and families at Dominguez HS on Oct. 26, along with Compton USD Superintendent Darin Brawley (left) and Dominguez Principal Caleb Oliver.