$150,000 Technology Grant to the DUSD Schools

Rich Boschetti, DPIE Academy Director
October 16, 2020

Mid-way through the 2019-20 school year, DPIE made a technology grant donation of $150,000 to the Dublin Unified School District for the purchase of technology to meet the needs of one of the fastest growing school districts in the state of California.  Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Matt Campbell, recently reported to DPIE that the funding allowed the district to purchase 540 Chromebooks and 15 Chromebook charging carts for Dublin Schools.

Mr. Campbell explained that each school in the district is receiving one fully loaded Chromebook cart for student use. But, since Dublin High School is now home to 3,300 students, the decision was made to allocate four sets of carts and Chromebooks to support the Math and Science Departments at Dublin High School.

Teacher Reactions

Allison Malone, Dublin Math Department

Allison Malone, Dublin High Math Department Chairperson, was excited to receive the new Chromebooks and what that would mean for math instruction.

“Having additional Chromebooks for our classes will have a significant impact on our students.  With those devices available, students will have the ability to work collaboratively on 21st century math tasks that develop their problem solving and analytical skills. Students will benefit from increased equity in the classroom and will gain more exposure to the real-world applications of the concepts they learn in class.  We are grateful to DPIE for making a positive contribution to the education of our students.”

Dublin Principal, Maureen Byrne said “Our Goal is a Chromebook Cart in Every Classroom!”

Teachers in all of our departments are moving to tech-based classrooms and all subjects at Dublin High are now technology rich and in need of more equipment. Our Math and Science departments use technology to do labs and analyze data which allows us to expand our educational opportunities for our students.  We also allow students access to Chromebooks in the HUB.  As our school has grown, we have used site funds and donations to expand the number of computers available to students and teachers, the issue is keeping up with demand. Our goal is to eventually have a computer cart available in every classroom.  We are so grateful to DPIE for responding to the varied needs at DHS.  We want to continue to provide all students with the tools to be college and career ready and certainly having access to technology, is an important piece of that preparation,” concluded Ms. Byrne.

Maureen Byrne, Principal, Dublin High School

Technology at Their Fingertips

Asked about the largest donation ever made by DPIE, Board President, Sobia Qureshi said, “DPIE is a nonprofit organization and our goal has always been to give back to our students, our schools and our community. What better way to give back, than by making sure every student has technology at their fingertips. Given the enrollment growth in Dublin, there was a need for more Chromebooks and our Board felt this was a good use of funds and would help students at all school sites.” 

The Challenge of Rapid Enrollment Growth

The DUSD has grown to more than 13,000 students and those numbers will only increase over the next 6 years as school district studies project enrollment numbers of 15,000 students by the 2025 – 2026 school year.  That rapid growth presents unique technology challenges to the school district.

“Growth is a huge issue for us when it comes to keeping up with our technology needs,” explained Assistant Superintendent, Matt Campbell. “We are very thankful that the Dublin community passed Measure J which allocated funds for the purchase of technology in the foreseeable future.  However, we have a double challenge of purchasing equipment not only to meet the needs of 2,000 additional students in the next 6 years, but we will also have the challenge of needing to replace equipment as technology evolves and equipment becomes outdated.”

Max Eissler, DUSD Chief Technology Officer

Max Eissler, the DUSD Chief Technology Officer explained the district’s technology challenge this way, “every technology device has a limited lifespan.  There are many factors that go into determining the lifespan of a device, including obsolescence (newer/faster devices have pushed up the requirements), wear and tear, battery life, etc.  For Chromebooks, the district has identified a lifespan of 4 years in the classroom, after which they should be replaced.  While the budget does factor in projected student growth and new classrooms, it does not allow for expansion of the technology program. Students have usually shared devices in the classrooms at a ratio closer to 1 device for every 2 students.  In this rapidly changing environment, we may wish to expand our Chromebook program to allow every student to use their own dedicated device.  To do so, we would have to identify new funding resources. The Chromebook carts donated by DPIE put us closer to the 1:1 ratio, and will allow students to utilize the devices more frequently in any given classroom.”

The Pandemic Increases the Need for Technology

Mr Campbell also said “With the pandemic and the advent of distance learning there is a huge need for families to borrow Chromebooks. Currently we have distributed more than 4,900 Chromebooks to Dublin families so their children can participate in online instruction and because of that need, one set of the new Chromebooks was allocated for students to checkout while we are in a distance learning format.  We have a plan in place to update and replace outdated equipment, but funding is always uncertain and the need to replace equipment does not always match with available funds. We are thankful for our partnership with DPIE and providing us with the funds needed to help us put technology in the hands of our students and teachers.”