Students at McClymonds High School now have access to computer programs designed to help them stay on track for graduation and college thanks to a donation from The Safeway Foundation of 2,000 Netbook Mini computers to the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).
The early holiday present was presented to students , OUSD Superintendent Gary Yee, Principal Tinisha Hamberlin, and faculty at McClymonds on Tuesday, who received 337 of the netbook computers. Castlemont and Fremont high schools were also among the first to receive computers.
Additionally, the district received a $30,000 grant from Safeway. The company gives about $22 million per year to education.
“We’re sowing a seed into education,” said Teena Massingill, Director of Public Affairs with Safeway, adding that supporting education also supports the workforce.
“A student’s potential is limitless. We want to support them in any way possible,” she said.
Using the laptops to sharpen their computer and Internet skills, students will be able to monitor their course credits through the Engrade program, write essays using Google Docs, and access class assignments and tests using Apex, a personalized learning system. Students will also be able to improve their grades in failed classes using these programs.
“Using the Apex system helps students stay on track,” senior Marc Smith said.
Smith looks forward to attending college next fall and says the program helps him manage his time, improve his grades, and keep track of his school credits.
The computers will help OUSD to reduce the achievement gap, specifically for African American male students targeted through the district’s Secondary Literacy Collaborative and the African American Male Achievement Initiative.
They will help support STEM-based curriculum in the district, particularly in the West Oakland corridor, according to District 3 School Board Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge.
Students will be able to research colleges, access websites in preparation for the SAT, ACT, and California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), and also save their work to the cloud allowing access from any computer connected to the internet.
Junior Kardel Howard says the new computers will help him organize his time between two AP classes and a full load of essays.
“It’s going to make life so much easier for me to achieve my goal,” Howard said, planning to study computer engineering in college. “Showing that people are committed to come here and do something with this school inspires me to do so much more with my life.”