The Greater Amsterdam School District (GASD) has received a $5,000 grant from the Stewart’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to support technology purchases and student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding, secured through the Capital Region BOCES Grants and Development Service, will be used to purchase:
- 50 replacement power supplies for portable laptops (“Chromebooks”) used by students at all grade levels. The replacement power supplies are essential for recharging students’ portable computer devices and ensuring the laptops are useable for their six- to seven-year lifespan; and
- 25 document cameras that will enable teachers to show students an up-close views of a wide variety of instructional materials, whether students are learning from home via videoconferencing or they are socially distanced away from the teacher in a traditional classroom setting at school.
“The pandemic has forced schools to change the way we educate our children, shifting to remote instruction when needed to keep our students and staff healthy and safe,” said GASD Superintendent of Schools Richard Ruberti. “But procuring the technology needed to meet this goal has been extremely challenging as we are experiencing serious stains on budgets, staffing and resources. We are thankful to have an educational partner in the community like Stewart’s Shops to help our children reach their full potential even during the challenging times we are living in today.”
More about the technology purchases
The replacement power supplies, which cost an average of $50 each, are essential for recharging students’ portable computer devices over their lifespans. In a typical year, GASD includes funds in its technology budget to replace lost or damaged power supplies; however, with the financial impact of the pandemic, the district had to slash its technology replacement budget to zero. Half of the grant – $2,500 will help offset the total $6,000 needed to replace power supplies at each of its six schools.
The 25 document cameras, which cost $100 each, will make it easier for students to get an up-close view of a wide range of teaching materials, including educators’ notes (the high-tech alternative to chalk on a blackboard), and objects used in teaching science, art, math and other academic subjects. The cameras also connect teachers’ computers to smartboards, turning them into digital overhead projectors so students can get a front-row view whether they are learning from home or at the back of a classroom.
Additionally, the cameras “follow” teachers as they move, meaning students can see and hear their teachers easily, even when learning virtually. The other half of the Stewart’s grant – $2,500 will enable GASD to purchase document cameras for 25 teachers. This is just the start of the district’s ultimate goal of ensuring all teachers have access to this technology.
Through Stewart’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, Stewart’s Shops and the Dake Family Foundation has allocated more than $1 million in monetary and product relief to hundreds of schools and non-profit organizations facing hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The COVID-19 Relief Fund was launched by the company in April, 2020.