This is a program I started almost four years ago and is probably one of the accomplishments I am most proud in my time as CIO of this school district. Every year we have many machines and peripherals that we are unable to use in our environment. In previous years, these items were sent to a surplus auction where they were purchased by the pallet for scrap parts. However, four years ago I had a vision for taking these "scrap parts" and turning them into someone's treasure.
Once we recouped the machines, we partnered with our local IT classes at the technical center as well as our local family resource centers, which provide assistance to families within our district. The IT classes / students assist in cleaning, upgrading, installing educational software, etc. so the machines are reliable. This also provides an excellent learning opportunity for these students. Our family resource centers provide us with families who currently do not have a computer in their home.
Once the work is complete, we contact the families and have a "Pick Up Your Computer" night where we provide a basic overview of the computer, including "how to connect items" and "how to use". We also talk about the program and who was involved in providing this computer to them at no cost.
This spring we will hand out our 100th computer to a family that didn't have the luxury of one in their home. During these tough economic times, it is more and more difficult for people to find the extra dollars for such technology - even though prices continue to drop. There is no greater feeling in my experience of this job than seeing the smiling faces of students carrying their new computer home.
JDS | CIO