Business association donates computers to Weiser schools to assist distance learning

Steve Lyon

A statewide business association recently donated 40 laptop computers to the Weiser School District to help students participate in distance learning while classrooms are closed.
 The Idaho Business for Education has collected and refurbished hundreds of computers for Idaho students through its  statewide Community Activation Project.
 The IBE, which counts 242 businesses as members, formed seven teams across the state to help local school districts and students in April.
 The two goals of the project are to get devices into the hands of thousands of students across the state that do not have them and provide connectivity at home so all students can do their online learning.
 Representatives of the IBE and partner organizations, including Delta Dental, dropped off the laptops, powercords and equipment at the Weiser School District main office last week.
 “We appreciate your donation,” Superintendent Wade Wilson told the visitors.
 Wilson said he reached out to the IBE and requested the 40 laptops after the district fell short of being able to provide enough devices for families who have several students in the district.
 Additionally, not all students have the necessary camera or speakers on their home computer to participate in remote learning lessons.
 Some computers are running browsers that are too old to get on to education websites like Math Facts. All of the donated laptops are up to date and can run the required programs, district officials said.
 Weiser High School principal Dave Davies said the school district has checked out 430 district-owned devices to students.
 The district has been issuing tablets, iPads, Chromebooks and other computers to students and their families since classrooms closed following spring break.
 Students in the Weiser School District, like all schools across the state, have been receiving coursework by remote education since April 1 when the State Board of Education initiated a “soft closure” of all schools as a coronavirus safety precaution.      Alishia Jonas, a member of the IBE’s Treasure Valley team, said the call went out to businesses to donate used computer devices once the Community Activation Project got started last month. The need is great, with an estimated 3,000 students without a computer in 33 school districts in the Treasure Valley.
 Jonas works for Kendell Ford, which is one location where donated computers are collected and cleaned.
 The devices are wiped clean of data and sanitized by volunteers at collection sites. The computers and power cords are wrapped so volunteers know which ones have been refreshed and are ready to give to school districts.
 “We all want the same thing. We all want to positively impact the lives of students,” Jonas said. “This is just the beginning. We hope to make more trips back to Weiser.”

Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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