CAMDEN, NJ — The Camden City School District (CCSD) has steadily worked to better facilitate remote learning for students during COVID-19 school closures.
On Friday, the district announced that with the help of $400,000 in donations from the Camden Education Fund, Townsend Press and the Campbell Soup Company it will continue in that mission by purchasing laptops for high school students across all six district schools.
In all, 1,550 lDell Chromebook 3100s, as well as licensing fees for the Google platform, will be provided to students grades nine to twelve from Camden High School, Woodrow Wilson High School, Big Picture Learning Academy, Brimm Medical Arts, Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy, and Pride Academy.
“In these extraordinary times, we are seeing individuals and organizations step up to support Camden families,” said Camden Superintendent Katrina McCombs. “As educators, we have always known that the digital divide is an equity issue. Now, with students at home and schools closed, it is more important than ever. With this generous gift, I’m thrilled to announce that all of our high school students will be able to continue their learning at home, prepare for critical exams like the SAT, and complete college essays and applications.”
Internet access will also be made available via Comcast Internet Essentials and free Xfinity hotspots.
The Camden Education Fund, a non-profit that supports local public schools, committed $200,000.
“As we consulted educators on how to best support the school district at this unprecedented time, all conversations returned to the digital divide. In 2020, our secondary students should have access to technology to support their learning, crisis or not,” said Camden Education Fund executive director, Naeha Dean. “I am grateful for Superintendent McCombs’ advocacy on this issue and proud to join our philanthropic partners in making a laptop available for every high school student in the district.”
Camden Mayor Frank Moran called the initiative “a testament to the character of our great city.”
“I am grateful for the relentlessness of our District leadership, the generosity of our philanthropic community, and especially for the resilience of our students and families,” said Moran.
In addition to their donation, Campbell’s Soup has already committed over $1 million in financial support and food assistance to help communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Food Bank of South Jersey and the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden.
“Campbell is honored to be able to assist students in our hometown continue to learn and develop during this crisis,”said Campbell’s President and CEO Mark Clouse. “We are in this together and will work to provide the support needed in Camden and all the other communities where we operate.”
CCSD said fundraising efforts were also provided by George Norcross, Chairman of the Cooper University Health Care Board of Trustees, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and The Cooper Foundation.
John Langan, who founded Berlin Township-based Townsend Press, along with Jadeth Nadell said, “Judith and I feel blessed to be able to help students in this time of crisis. Today’s high school students are tomorrow’s leaders, and it’s critical that they have all the resources they need to be successful.”