Teacher-librarian Karen Smith of Des Moines Elementary School needs to continue working from her home, rather than her classroom, because her parents are health-compromised. She is thankful the new school building includes new technology for students and teachers, thanks to the 2016 school bond. She also describes the existing gaps her students and our whole district face.
Here's her story:
“During Distance Learning, I am teaching from home. The situation is challenging. I brought my document camera home to be able to read a story out loud and show the pages of the book like I would at school. With screen sharing in Zoom, students can see the pictures.
I have the district-issued laptop that was updated with a web camera over the summer. I adapted my personal PC to allow for dual monitors, which is a necessity so I can screenshare on one screen and see the students on the other.
Most of our Des Moines Elementary staff are willing to work from school. My parents are health-compromised, and I just cannot in good conscience take a risk with something that is so invisible. Teaching remotely feels like two full time jobs and is entirely dependent upon up-to-date technology, devices, plus strong internet connectivity. We absolutely MUST have both--for students and for teachers.
As we move toward hybrid learning, teaching both remotely AND in-person, it will be even more challenging. Connectivity is critical. There are many families throughout Highline who are struggling with this.
At Des Moines Elementary, we are lucky that our new school included brand new Promethean interactive presentation screens and new student Chromebooks, as part of the 2016 school bond. Many other schools have been trying to keep the old stuff running as long as they can. There are thousands in our district that need replacing.
Just as Des Moines Elementary needed an updated building to provide internet connectivity, many schools also need updated equipment. So many pieces must be in place for Highline to have a chance to keep up with the ever-changing technological needs in our society.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light just how much technology is needed to provide equity and equal access for our students, staff and community.
Offering the November tech levy to voters is critical to help with the immediate needs, but also to provide a framework for future updates.”
What Will the Tech Levy Fund?
You can learn more about our technology levy and what it covers at highlneschools.org/techlevy.