Thursday afternoon, Socorro Independent School District officials announced that the district had been awarded the 2018-2019 Technology Lending Grant by the Texas Education Agency to provide more students access to high-quality digital resources and courses.
The $150,000 grant has allowed SISD to expand its Digitally Nurturing Academics 1:1 program (one student to one laptop) to sixth-grade students at Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School, making it the first middle school in the district to give 100 percent of its students personal laptops for 24/7 access to digital learning.
“We are very excited to be the first middle school to provide laptops to every student,” said Iris Jimenez, the school principal. “All of our students will have the opportunity to experience and engage in blended learning through the many technology tools that are available to them.”
Along with the laptops, students at the school will have access to 65 hot spots for access to digital instruction materials off campus. The devices can be checked out for five days during the school year and as often as needed in the summer. Students will have the laptops in their possession every day, all year long.
“This will be my first laptop ever,” said Katia Chaidez, sixth-grade student. “I’m very happy because I will be able to learn new skills, gain knowledge, and get ahead.”
Students say the personal learning devices will prepare them for high school, where they also have portable computers for students at all grade levels.
“I feel excited about getting a laptop because I can learn more about technology and it makes learning fun,” said Aaron Sanchez, a sixth-grader at Sanchez Middle School. “It will prepare me for high school and college.”
The DNA 1:1 program started in 2014 with freshmen at Socorro High School receiving laptops to use for 24/7 learning. The DNA program and conversion to digital learning has expanded every year since the launch.
This year, all students at Socorro and Pebble Hills high schools received a laptop. Seventh- and eighth-grade students at SPC. Rafael Hernando III Middle School, eighth-grade students at John Drugan School, Socorro Middle, Sun Ridge Middle and Ernesto Serna School also were given laptops for the 2018-2019 school year.
The district will continue to expand the DNA program for all students at every high school and continue growing the middle school program, as well.
“Technology contributes to student success,” said Miguel Moreno, instructional technology coordinator. “SISD has always played a role in ensuring students have equitable access and resources to technology to prepare them for college and careers. We level the playing field for students with diverse backgrounds and needs.”