DPS surprises students with Chromebooks

In an attempt to lower the digital gap between wealthy and poor students in Denver Public Schools, the district is hoping this helps.

DENVER - At the Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences, Amelia Winterling has no idea what to expect from sixth-grade orientation.

"So, I was kind of humble jumbled," Amelia said.

This is a school where some kids have access to their own computers at home and others don't - like Lyric Brown.

"I was really, really hoping that I would get a computer," Lyric said.

The principal said raffle tickets were handed out with eight lucky students receiving their own laptops.

"I had my fingers crossed and then I was sad when I didn't get called," Amelia said.

Lyric was disappointed, too.

"When they didn't call my name, I was bummed," Lyric said.

Then, what they didn't expect, a surprise announcement.

"And, then Mr. Cavanaugh said, if you have that ticket, you all get Chromebooks," Amelia said. "I was so happy."

All the students were given their own Chromebooks to take home as part of a new 1-to-1 technology program.

"I was so happy," Lyric said. "I was ready to climb on the ceiling and just do a twirl."

The laptops were purchased with $10 million from the 2016 bond issue passed by voters. Students from 14 schools in total will be provided with computers reaching more than 9,000 kids. The overall bond issue was $628 million, mostly to repair and renovate old school buildings.

"It's about changing learning. It's about changing teaching styles," said Superintendent Tom Boasberg.

He said Denver has a digital divide amongst rich and poor families when it comes technology access at home.

"This is really helping close that divide and that divide is all about opportunity," Boasberg said. "Just making sure each and every one of our kids has the knowledge, the skills, the learning."

Lyric said it makes things fairer.

"Since I get to take it home and I get more practice with it," Lyric said. "Cause, I don't really get computer time, at all."

Amelia said she really does not know what to expect from sixth grade.

"Now that I have my own Chromebook, I feel more independent," Amelia said. "But, it also provides more challenge for me."

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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