HopSkipDrive streamlines ed tech delivery for charter school network
Written by Aylin Cook
For many of us, working from home or attending online classes due to the COVID-19 crisis has been a relatively easy transition — at least tech-wise. With our iPhones, MacBooks, iPads, high-speed internet, hotspots and more, we were already set up to go.
The inequities of at-home internet access and education technology
For the approximately 53,000 children in Colorado without WiFi enabled devices, and the 65,860 children who lack at-home internet access, distance learning is impossible without districts providing education technology and internet connectivity.
The newest study released by the Colorado Education Initiative found that tens of thousands of Colorado students do not have the tools necessary for distance learning. The study, conducted by the Colorado Education Initiative and the Colorado Department of Education, surveyed leaders at school districts, charter schools, facility schools, and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services from March 27th through April 4th about students’ at-home needs since COVID-19 caused mass school closures in mid-March.
“I know that our educators and school leaders are struggling with inequities that may be widening right now — students who are already behind are in some cases falling further behind,” Kathy Anthes, Colorado’s Education Commissioner.
Technical support and delivery of remote learning technology major challenge
Based on the responses from 184 districts/Boards of Cooperative Educational Services across the state, the estimated number of students without WiFi-enabled devices is 52,918, or approximately 6% of students in the represented districts. Of those students, approximately 10,372 or 3% live in the Denver Metro area.
Technical support for delivering remote learning technology was ranked as the second highest education support need, with 46% of districts needing assistance — second only to student emotional support with 52% of districts needing assistance.
The districts surveyed stated that students in need include students who were given old computers or tablets that do not have the capability to update or run software or platforms necessary for distance learning, as well as students who only have access to phones or tablets. Districts shared that phones and tablets may not be the most appropriate devices for online learning platforms, so students with access to only these devices also need assistance.
HopSkipDrive helps Rocky Mountain Prep with their ed tech delivery needs
We’ve also expanded our services to deliver education technology to students in need. In Denver, HopSkipDrive partnered with Rocky Mountain Prep, a network of four public charter schools enrolling nearly 2,000 pre-K through 5th graders.
Rocky Mountain Prep was founded in 2012 with the vision to close the opportunity gap by providing exceptional elementary education to students of all backgrounds. It serves students from vulnerable socioeconomic backgrounds — more than 80% of students’ families qualify for free or reduced lunch. It has been one of the top elementary schools in the Denver Metro area since its founding.
Across the Rocky Mountain Prep network, many students needed educational technology in order to learn, so the team began the process of delivering laptops to the students in need.
“As we began to implement our remote learning plan during this unprecedented time, it was of the utmost importance to us to ensure that every single student in our community had access to the technology necessary to learn at home,” said James Cryan, Founder & CEO of Rocky Mountain Prep.
However, there were hiccups in the plan: “After our initial distribution of more than 1,000 laptops, we still had a number of students in need, or who had their laptop broken and needed a replacement quickly.”
HopSkipDrive stepped in, streamlining not only delivery, but the technology tracking process. CareDrivers picked up broken laptops for repair and delivered replacement laptops. The quick operational turnaround enabled Rocky Mountain Prep students to avoid missing valuable classroom time.
There’s a personal layer to this story — HopSkipDrive VP of Marketplace Jon Hanover was a founding teacher at Rocky Mountain Prep. He says, “It’s wonderful that, through my work at HopSkipDrive, I get to impact the siblings and neighbors of my former students. Years later, I can help them access high quality digital instruction at home now during these challenging times.”
Author: Marrissa Sanchez