Campuses distribute technology to prepare for first day of virtual learning

In preparation for the upcoming school year, HISD parents began lining up at Northline Elementary School early to receive technology that will help when online classes begin next week.

Lourdes Villafuerte’s daughter Mila, a rising fourth-grader at Northline, received a Chromebook that she is excited to start using. Villafuerte says she’s relieved the district is making technology available to students during this challenging time.

“I really appreciate that they have tried to accommodate as many families as they have,” she said. I am still concerned about schools opening in October, so if we can continue with online learning, we would like to take that approach, and this makes that possible for us.”

HISD has supplied almost 96,000 devices. The district has also purchased an additional 34,000 hotspots since July for the future.

Technology needs are a top concern for many HISD, students, parents, and staff, including Northline Principal Mario Sandoval, who says he understands the challenges students and teachers face when they aren’t connected by technology.

“It is extremely important that all of our students have access to a device and technology,” he said. “If they don’t have a device, they don’t have access to their education, so these distributions are extremely important, and the district is doing a great job making sure students have what they need.”

That same day, just two miles down the road at HISD’s Lyons Elementary School, a dedicated staff of 24, led by Dean of Instruction Nestor Londoño, also were hard at work handing out more than 200 devices.

Out of nearly 1,000 students registered at Lyons, more than 800 Lyons students needed technology, and, according to Londoño, the staff will continuing working until every student in need has a device before the first day of school.

“We, as a school, are valued for the education we provide, and that is the most important thing for us,” he said. “The main focus of this school is always offering the best that we can to our students, parents and community, and we live for it.”

Across town on Houston’s Southwest side, parents of rising fourth and fifth-graders lined up outside Rodriguez Elementary School waiting for their new devices and backpacks full of supplies.

According to Principal Lulu DeAnda, out of the 872 registered students, more than 700 students needed devices. And, while the pandemic has created significant challenges for her students, she does her best to always look at the bright side.

“Life is what you make of it,” she said. “This situation has brought us together as a community, and everyone is doing the best for our students. We are working hard to make sure that everything is going to work out.”