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A laptop for every SFUSD educator

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(Courtesy photo)

Though I’m new to the role of superintendent, I’ve actually been around SFUSD for a while now, and seen many, many improvements to how we serve our students and support our teachers.

And there’s one happening right now I want to share with you.

Every SFUSD educator now has access to a laptop for work

Starting with this school year, every full-time teacher in the district now has the option of using a device, such as a laptop, for work.

What? You might be saying, this is the 21st century, and it’s San Francisco! What took so long?

The first answer is obvious: money. It took more resources than we had available up until very recently.

Phenomenal effort

But even with slightly more financial resources, it also took tremendous people resources. Think about it: More than 4,600 educators, more than a dozen different grade levels and hundreds of different types of educational programs determine what type of technology teachers need.

From purchasing to setting up the devices, getting each device into the right teacher’s hands, managing security, and providing ongoing tech support — I’ve watched our Department of Technology hard at work. It took amazing coordination.

How are educators using the technology?

With these devices, teachers are able to connect students to the world outside the four walls of a classroom. They can provide more diverse and personalized ways for each student to learn through digital media, online collaboration resources, and adaptive tools. They can also engage with students and families in real-time.

Not only that, all full-time teachers and counselors in SFUSD use these devices to manage online attendance reports, student assessments and counseling.

By providing every classroom teacher with a device, we are equipping them with a tool that allows them to be more effective.

The Laptops for Educators Program is a three-year, $5 million initiative that funds the technology, training, support and program expenses for a fleet of more than 4,600 devices. Managed by SFUSD’s Department of Technology, these devices are on a three-year lease cycle so we can spread out the cost of the devices, and renew them so that our teachers have access to a device that is less than three years old.

Part of our bigger vision for SFUSD

This is just one way we are transforming into a digital district because we want all of our graduates have the skills, capacities and mindset needed to be productive, engaged global citizens who contribute and lead in a global economy.

From the schoolyard to the classroom, we are making good on the promise of technology to improve the learning — and lives — of our students and teachers.

Myong Leigh is the interim superintendent for the San Francisco Unified School District.

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