Students Receive Chromebooks for Online Instruction
On April 1, no one was fooling around as a team from the Instructional Services Division (ISD) at Lincoln Center assembled, hands on deck, to organize and pack up district Chromebooks for loan to approximately 250 CHCCS students in grades two through five. Staff sorted the laptops by schools, boxed and loaded them onto the many school buses waiting in the Center’s parking lot, all the while maintaining social distancing and smiles.
With the Food for Students program in its third week, the Chromebooks became part of the school buses’ cargo for one day -- sandwiches, milk cartons and laptops! Once the boxes were packed, several elementary school staff members accompanied the bus drivers for the rides to neighborhoods throughout the community. For the families who do not live near a meal distribution site, the school staff brought the Chromebooks directly to their homes later in the afternoon.
The families received a district email a few days earlier, notifying them that school buses would deliver Chromebooks to their second through fifth grade children at the food distribution sites. The selection of students receiving laptops was based on phone calls from school staff to families, gathering information on whether devices were needed.
McDougle Elementary School (MES) Social Worker, Laura Olley said, “I went on a bus around the rural areas of the McDougle zone with Mr. Matt, the bus driver, and Jessica O'Donovan. Mr. Matt was very helpful as he knew exactly where many students lived, the best way to get there, and we had a lot of fun. I called or texted families to give them a heads up that we were coming, and many smiling faces of parents and students greeted us. All the kids would exclaim, ‘Mr. Matt!’ and come running when they saw him pull up. It really highlighted for me the special and valuable connections that our bus drivers have with our students and families.”
Candice Norwood, the School Social Worker at Northside Elementary School (NES), said she and three Navigator colleagues were able to deliver laptops to some of their students. “It was great because I was able to see and talk with former Northside students and current students as we went door to door,” Norwood said. “As we were delivering the computers, we were sharing funny student moments and discussing just how much we truly miss seeing our students and families everyday.”
NES Principal, Coretta Sharpless, and NES Assistant Principal, Kirtisha Jones rode a bus together. Jones said, “Something really touched my heart last night. I checked one of the classroom Padlets created by one of our fourth grade teachers, and one of the students I was able to distribute technology to yesterday had made a lot of comments to his teacher and classmates. He even mentioned that he was happy to see me early that day. He had no idea I would even read that. This is what this was all about. He immediately found ways to begin engaging, because of this opportunity provided by our district.”
“One thing I would love to say is that being a part of this effort truly made me proud to work for our Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools District,” Jones said. “I love how we show up for students and families everyday; and especially during this crisis.”
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Jessica O’Donovan and Debby Atwater, Director of Digital Learning, worked with their teams to pull together the technology support as quickly and seamlessly as possible. “Teachers and TAs will be checking in with students to make sure they can get connected. If needed, teachers will refer families to the Tech Support Help Desk,” O’Donovan said.