The Efforts to Close the Digital Divide for North Texas Students

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The pandemic has pushed us further into the digital world.

But not everyone was ready for it.

When the shutdown began, Dr. Rebecca Good, superintendent of Legacy Preparatory Charter Academy, said nearly all of her 1,800 students needed computers.

“Most of our parents are low socio-economic,” said Good, superintendent of Legacy Preparatory Charter Academy. “We had to scramble.”

Now, districts across North Texas are distributing digital devices and internet hotspots to get students ready for the school year.

McKinney ISD is handing out more than 13,000 MacBooks.

It’s part of the districts One to the World instructional technology program aimed at providing laptops to every third through twelfth grader. It was in the works long before the pandemic.

Other districts are getting federal and state help to achieve similar goals.

In May, Governor Abbott launched “Operation Connectivity,” a statewide initiative to deliver digital devices and internet connectivity to districts and students.

Last week, the Fort Worth ISD board approved $2.4 million investment for an additional 10,000 devices. Those devices will arrive this week and will be distributed next week according to Superintendent Kent Scribner.

For Good, it means she'll get new computers at half the cost.

She said she received the agreement Thursday.

“All over the state of Texas, districts are scrambling to put together board meetings to get this signed,” said Dr. Good.

But it isn't a success story yet.

Andrea Chevalier, former teacher turned lobbyist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators, said it isn't enough to just put devices into student's hands.

“We could think about maybe not having the STAR test this year and maybe using that time to help remediate and help brings kids up as quick as we can so that four years down the road, they're not still behind from what happened during the pandemic,” said Chevalier.

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