Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Contact: John Sasaki
Communications Director

#OaklandUndivided Campaign Update Shows 25,000 Laptops Are Now In the Pipeline Bound for Oakland Students Who Need Home Access

Students Expected to Receive Computers in First Two Months of Fall Semester

Oakland, CA -- The #OaklandUndivided campaign’s goal is to get technology into the hands of OUSD students who lack the ability to access online learning at home. Our vision is to ensure all Oakland public school students with a demonstrated need have three things: a computer, internet, and tech support. Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), the City of Oakland/Office of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Tech Exchange, and the Oakland Public Education Fund all partnered to bring these resources to Oakland children.

We quickly achieved our first goal of raising $12.5 million, and immediately began an extensive procurement process, ordering nearly 25,000 Chromebooks, which are scheduled to begin arriving during the first two weeks of August. As the world has dramatically shifted operations to prevent the spread of coronavirus, supply chains have been impacted by a large spike in demand, yet our large order is still on track for delivery within this timeline. We will get these computers to our students as close to the start of school as possible, starting by late August.

The #OaklandUndivided team has been in negotiations with various internet providers to purchase uncapped (no data limit) internet plans to ensure that our students who currently have no internet access at home can access distance learning. #OaklandUndivided will provide a mixture of hotspots and broadband connections to disconnected students and families in need, giving them access for the school year at no cost to them.

#OaklandUndivided Timeline
● June - Chromebooks Ordered, Negotiations with Internet Providers Began
● July - Tech Survey Created, Hotspots Ordered, Inventory & Distribution System Built
● August - Tech Survey Distributed to Families, Chromebooks Arrive, Hotspots Arrive
● Early August - Distribute some devices on loan to students who do not yet have loaner computers and internet access, to increase access and fill any immediate needs
● By Late August-September - Chromebooks and Hotspots or Broadband Distributed to all Students who Qualify (and loaner computers/devices are returned to classrooms/school sites)

Beginning the first week of August, all families with a student attending an Oakland public school, District-run or charter, will be asked to complete a Tech Check survey to provide updated information on students’ access to technology at home. Schools, community partners, and family engagement staff will be performing outreach to support families in completing the Tech Check. We encourage all families who don’t currently have the ability to have internet access at home to fill the survey out immediately after receiving it, so we can get an accurate assessment of the need for computers and internet access before the school year begins. For families with no internet access, we will provide alternate methods for completing the survey, such as on paper, and in person. Again, we will be distributing the survey the first week of August and it will be a key part of registration beginning Monday, August 3. The sooner families fill this out, the sooner we can analyze the data to ensure we get the new computers and internet directly to students and families.
Here is one request from the #OaklandUndivided campaign: If you are a family with the means to purchase Chromebooks for your children, you are asked to buy them now, so if we fall short at the beginning of the school year we can dedicate our loaner inventory to students with higher needs.

#OaklandUndivided has partnered with a Salesforce-based development firm to build a customized system to support the long-term project. The software will facilitate allocation of devices and internet to families from low-income backgrounds with home access gaps, using criteria of need from the Tech Check. The system will also be used to manage ongoing tech support for families to ensure challenges in using the new technology are resolved quickly to keep students connected.

While we cannot get the new computers into the hands of students in time for the start of the school year, in the spring, OUSD distributed 18,000 school-based computers to students on loan. While it was not enough, it did provide access for most students in need as we were thrust into distance learning. OUSD students will continue to use those computers until those who qualify receive a new device. We know that our primary need is to have every student online during OUSD’s Strong Start Plan. To fill that gap, OUSD has purchased 5,000 temporary devices as additional “loaners.” Once the #OaklandUndivided Chromebooks arrive and are inventoried, Tech Check responses are processed, and home access supports are deployed to students, the loaners will be collected and returned to their home schools. Most new devices are expected to be distributed in late August and September, with students returning loaned devices upon receiving the #OaklandUndivided home devices.

As stated above, we reached our first goal shortly after we started the campaign, but there are still goals that lie ahead, as we plan to provide computers and internet access to all Oakland students who need it every year moving forward. If you are interested in joining our #OaklandUndivided movement - here is how you can get involved: 

Learn more about #OaklandUndivided: Go to www.oaklandedfund.org/digitaldivide 

Donate a computer or hotspot, contact Seth@techexchange.org.

Make a donation or discuss a potential financial contribution, contact:

● David Silver, Mayor’s Office of Education at Dsilver@oaklandca.gov
● Jonathan Osler, Oakland Public Education Fund at jonathan@oaklandedfund.org
● Curtiss Sarikey, Oakland Unified School District at curtiss.sarikey@ousd.org
About the Oakland Unified School District
In California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 82 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success. 

To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE | (510) 879-8200
Oakland Unified School District
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