The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and that means educators across the globe are still finding inventive and innovative ways to support and teach students in classrooms, during hybrid instruction, and in virtual settings.
Never before have educators been challenged and tested as they were, beginning in March 2020 and up until today, and never before has their resilience been more apparent. Administrators, technology leaders, classroom teachers, and educators in all roles have persevered as they taught each and every one of their students during a global pandemic.
Here, eSchool News highlights the Coachella Valley School District–one of its K-12 Hero Awards finalists. Keep reading to discover how this district keeps learning going in the middle of a global pandemic.
Nominated by: Second Life Mac
What makes this nominee a hero?
Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) serves students in a 1,250 square mile area in Riverside County, Calif. The district, which includes 21 schools, encompasses a fast-growing population, which is predominantly Hispanic. Approximately 40 percent of the student population is Spanish-speaking, and 90 percent receive free or reduced lunch.
While not an affluent district, the school board and district leaders, many of whom are first-generation residents of the United States, understand the importance technology plays in delivering a high-quality education to students.
For this reason, the school district adopted a 1:1 digital learning program for students to foster learning and show students the world of possibilities beyond the mountains surrounding Coachella Valley.
Like many districts with a 1:1 program, sustaining technology is crucial. Aging devices that are slow and cannot access current software can have a negative impact on learning. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit as district officials were planning to update their district’s technology. With classrooms closed, getting used devices back from students and new devices distributed would be a challenge.
Undeterred, Israel Oliveros, director of technology for CVUSD, moved forward with plans to outfit students with new iPads. In order to fund the new technology purchase, the district decided to sell back their current fleet of 23,000 devices to Second Life Mac, which worked with the district to create a safe environment for the exchange of devices.
Oliveros brought Second Life Mac’s unique Touchless-trade-in™ program to the valley and worked with the company to plan this massive technology transfer. Twelve trade-in events were held in three different locations over the course of a few weeks, so each of the district’s 23,000 students had an opportunity to drop off their used device and get a new one.
Students with school-owned devices received a unique QR code on their iPad that was scanned during the drive-through trade in event. The QR code identified the student and the device and recorded that the device had been returned. The old device was placed on a conveyer belt from the student’s vehicle and it was received at the other end by a rep. New devices were handed out by another rep.
Used devices were sealed in boxes and sent back to the Second Life Mac warehouse, where the devices were sanitized, all data was removed to NIST standards, and devices were refurbished and resold via wholesale and retail channels. If a device could not be refurbished, it was recycled with zero e-waste in landfills.
Israel Oliveros’ leadership showed how he is providing students the tools they need to become the future leaders who will serve Coachella, the state of California and beyond.
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