By Amanda Moses
On October 1st and 2nd, Frederick Douglass Academy (FDA) VIII hosted a Chromebook giveaway for Blended Learning and Remote students within the school’s playground.
With the help from the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program, FDA VIII received a grant and was able to distribute 215 Chromebooks. FDA VIII’s staff shared their excitement with the Spring Creek Sun, stating that they are appreciative for the grant and to be working with the Verizon company.
“Having access to LTE ready (internet enabled device) Chromebooks is an incredible opportunity during normal circumstances. But for FDA VIII to qualify for the program pre-pandemic was a game changer,” said Ms. Rubin, the Verizon Innovation Learning Program Coach at FDA VIII.
The VILS has a program called Cohort 8 in which a group of schools within a district or charter network collectively apply. Some of the criteria included submitting a district plan on transformative learning powered by technology, STEM focused lessons, documentation of efforts, community and family partnerships, data on students’ achievements, and more. Once the application has been approved and schools are found to be a good fit there were a few rounds of interviews and site visits. As a VLS recipient, all the schools receive free devices with data plans.
Ms. Rubin added that last spring’s remote experience was difficult at first, but with the help of grants like VILS Chromebooks, the students can be more engaged. “In March we distributed all of our working devices and struggled to get our students engaged and active in their classes, but now we have leveled the playing field. All of our scholars are able to access their classes and activities no matter where they are or what their circumstances are. VILS is helping us delete the digital divide and provide equal access to all of our scholars to compete as global citizens,” she explained.
In addition to the Chromebooks, the school will receive Professional Development, a Technology Coach and a School-based IT staff member to support the transition to a one-to-one environment.
Photos courtesy of FDA VIII