Denver Public Schools is working hard to ensure that every student is a 21st century learner and has every opportunity to elevate their education. Access to technology has never been more important or critical to unlock information at the click of a button.
This empowers students by providing them with a versatile tool for their learning, growth, and skill development. With a district-provided device, students are able to access a wealth of information in a safe way, engage with interactive educational content, easily collaborate with peers and their teachers, and are able to receive more personalized instruction.
Through the 2020 Bond, Denver voters are supporting students’ educational growth by ensuring they have equitable access to technology, helping to bridge the digital divide. Together, we are preparing DPS students to be digitally literate and global 21st century citizens.
What the Program Entails
MyTech received $14,930,919 in 2020 Bond funding, thanks to the generous voters of Denver, and was able to build off of previous successful program years to:
Expand 1:1 Chromebooks in all district-managed grades 6-12 (Serving approximately 33,000 students) and created a device refresh cycle to ensure students have access to robust technology they need to be successful learners
Provide access to hotspots for ~700 students to use at home who do not have reliable home Internet access
Fund Digital Coach positions that work closely with teachers and school staff to support integration of technology into everyday curriculum, leveraging the technological investments to further enhance student learning and engagement
Fund a DPS Hardware Repair team to support the inventory management and device repair processes for schools, ensuring we properly track equipment and extend the life cycle of devices for as long as possible.
The Hardware Repair team also hosts DPS student interns and an apprentice, certifying the students in Chromebook repairs and teaching them hands-on skills that are applicable and recognized in the IT industry
From the allocated 2020 Bond funding, MyTech has put the funding to use thus far in:
$8,403,035.50 to support technology, equipment, and Chrome operating system licensing
$2,737,639.02 to support staffing and benefits
$372,486.96 to support hotspots and home internet access for students
How were schools selected to participate?
Given the success of previous iterations of MyTech that showed student growth and improvement when having access to a device, as well as the integration of technology in everyday learning, all students in grades 6-12 in district managed schools were included in the 2020 MyTech roll out.
How are students using these devices outside of school if they do not have internet access at home?
MyTech is providing hotspot access to students who don’t have reliable or any access to the Internet at home as requested. In addition, we share resources and encourage qualifying families to take advantage of the Affordable Connectivity Program. We know not all DPS families will qualify for this for various reasons and believe that access to the Internet is a fundamental right, which is where hotspots can help fill this gap.
How long does a Chromebook actually last?
When properly taken care of, Chromebooks can be a relatively inexpensive device that provides plenty of computing power to support student learning for over 5 years. In being cognizant of sustainability with the technology we use, we will keep a Chromebook in circulation so long as its hardware and processing power meets the needs of the student and can continue to receive operating system updates. Google has recently committed to ensuring that Chromebooks produced at a certain point and time, and going forward, will receive a minimum of 10 years of operating system updates.
How often are students actually using Chromebooks in school?
While this will vary based on each school, the integration of technology in education has never been higher. Schools use Learning Management Systems (i.e. Schoology) to create and share lessons, have students complete assignments, and grade student work. In addition, students can use Chromebooks to research information, complete project-based learning, take various assessments (e.g. iStation, CMAS, PSAT, etc.), or participate in blended learning scenarios. Access to devices has become more important than ever as we look to support our students in becoming 21st century learners.
What about devices for students in grades K-5?
When COVID-19 forced the shift to remote learning, the district was able to secure ESSER funds to support the purchase of additional Chromebooks for students in these grade levels. Through that effort and by redistributing the older but still viable Chromebooks from grades 6-12 as they received new ones, the district was able to become fully 1:1 for grades K-12 in district managed schools.