NEWARK, NJ — Newark took another step toward pairing every student with a remote learning device thanks to a donation from the WeLoveU Foundation, an international disaster relief charity.
The organization delivered 100 Chromebooks and tablets to Roberto Clemente Elementary School on Thursday, closing the gap of remaining students at Roberto Clemente without a device, according to Superintendent Roger León. South Street Elementary School, Oliver Street School and Elliot Street School are also one-to-one with technology.
Since starting the summer with 10,000 students in need of technology, the district has secured more than 6,500 Chromebooks to help close its digital divide. Now nearly a month into its all-remote remote first marking period, León said all but about 4,000 students still need technology.
Across the state and country, the pandemic has underscored the haves and have-nots on the education landscape. In Newark, where census data shows a third of households don’t have Internet access and one in five lack access to computers, the burden on the district of 37,000 students has been immense.
“In order for us to get to where we need to be not only as a school district but as citizens of the world, the boys and girls need to understand that the technology is critical, toward our elimination of the digital divide,” Leon said. “We’re not at one-to-one yet, but with this donation, it’s definitely moving us to where we need to be.”
The devices donated Thursday will go to Roberto Clemente's sixth graders. Leon said that any students that still need laptops must get in contact with their principal or teacher.