OaklandUndivided Reaches Major Milestone in Effort to Provide 25,000 Oakland Students with Free Computers and Internet Access

OUSD NEWSROOMPRESS RELEASE Wednesday, October 14, 2020Contact: John SasakiCommunications Director 510-214-2080[email protected]#
Media is Invited to Laptop Distribution Event on ThursdayOakland, CA — Eric Yanez (right), a 4th-grader at Hoover Elementary School, had problems with distance learning. But many of those challenges have evaporated as Eric now has a computer and internet access through the #OaklandUndivided campaign. “My son got a Chromebook from #OaklandandUndivided and it has helped tremendously,” said Guadalupe Canchola, Eric’s mother. “We both are so grateful as it has helped to ease the new way of school with distance learning. Initially, he would use my phone for the zoom class and a borrowed tablet for the actual school work and it was just so different and a little frustrating a lot of the time.”Those challenges are exactly what the #OaklandUndivided campaign is designed to address for all Oakland public school students in need. The campaign, which is a joint venture of Tech Exchange, Oakland Promise, Oakland Public Education Fund, the City of Oakland and Mayor Libby Schaaf, and OUSD, began about five months ago with one goal: to ensure every public school student in need has access to a computer, internet, and tech support. While the work is far from over, this is an important update for the community on some key milestones coming out of last week’s National Digital Inclusion Week, during which the campaign handed out devices at 25 schools across Oakland and highlighted the impact these devices and resources have had on families and teachers.

Most importantly, this week, the campaign expects to reach the halfway mark and hand out the 12,500th computer of the original 25,000 units. These devices are for students to keep at home and to provide consistent access for families.
On Thursday, October 15 the campaign will host a computer distribution event with Mayor Schaaf and OUSD School Board District 7 Director, James Harris at Castlemont High School.

The focus for the #OaklandUndivided team after that will be to get the rest of the 25,000 computers into the hands of Oakland students in need.

“Everyday we get closer to closing the digital divide in Oakland,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “This week marks a critical milestone, but it is only progress achieved — not mission accomplished. We’ll continue to work with our amazing community partners until the digital divide is closed for good, and every child and family in Oakland has a device and the consistent internet access they need to reach their full educational potential.” 

Until they receive the #OaklandUndivided computers, Oakland students in district-run and charter schools who have needs for technology at home, still have one of the more than 23,000 computers and 7,000 hotspots that were loaned out by schools since the shelter in place took effect last March. “We are pleased that the #OaklandUndivided campaign has made such important progress,” said OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “It’s obvious that in this time of distance learning, we have prepared our students for success by ensuring that they have the tools they need at home to fully access their education. I thank the #OaklandUndivided team for all their hard work. It has indeed paid off!”
Almost all students have either a loaner or an #OaklandUndivided device. But the campaign knows there are some students who remain disconnected. If you are a family in Oakland public schools, make sure to fill out the Tech Check survey to receive your device(s) to ensure your student has access to a computer and the internet. If you know of a student or family in need who does not currently have access to technology resources, including a computer to participate in remote learning, please complete the OUSD Technology Intake Form. OUSD will ensure that the students identified there receive a computer within 48 hours.

One of the most important aspects of this effort has been the tech support supplied by the campaign. OUSD students can be confident that any issues they encounter with their device or internet access will be addressed quickly. So far, there have been a few problems, which the team quickly resolved. If families are having any issues with #OaklandUndivided devices such as mic issues, error messages, etc., they can contact Tech Exchange for support by texting or calling 510-866-2260.

Parents are clearly pleased with the results. “His interaction in class has been awesome and his weekly grades have been 100%,” said Guadalupe Canchola, mother of Hoover Elementary student, Eric Yanez. “Thank you all again for providing and donating such an important tool for our kids to continue learning despite anything new being thrown their way.”

WHAT: #OaklandUndivided High School Device Distribution Event
WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Thursday, October 15
WHERE: Castlemont High School, 8601 MacArthur Blvd
###About the Oakland Unified School DistrictIn California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 81 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success. 

To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
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