How One California District Tackled Digital Disparity
In October 2014, the Palmdale School District staff and board members started mapping out a strategic plan focused on student outcomes. In early 2015, this plan – the “Palmdale Promise” – was underway with the overarching goal of providing its 19,000-plus students with a well-rounded education for global competitiveness, which included competency in technology.
At the time, the district faced a major digital divide within its schools. Historically, the district operated under site-based school management, enabling each school to make many of its own technology decisions. This structure eventually resulted in only some of the district’s 28 schools benefitting from technology, while many campuses with higher poverty rates didn’t have any technology at all.
“Some of our school sites were fairly well-outfitted with technology and others had absolutely nothing, so there was a huge disparity,” said Christine Jones, coordinator of Educational Technology at Palmdale School District. “And part of our Palmdale Promise [initiative] is access and equity for all students, regardless of their school.”
So, the search for consistent technology solutions for all its schools began. The district knew they needed affordable technology solutions for all its schools, and the training for teachers to utilize it.See the Story