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One-to-One: Digital Devices for Every Student in 2020-21


Durham Public Schools will make the leap to providing a digital learning device for every DPS student for the 2020-21 school year, thanks to the purchase of more than 20,000 Chromebooks. The DPS Board of Education authorized the purchase at a special called meeting Thursday, May 28.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that we have to aggressively attack the digital divide in our community,” said DPS Superintendent Pascal Mubenga. “I’m grateful to our Board for giving us the go-ahead to put these devices in our students’ hands next year. Whether we will be back in our classrooms or continuing remote learning, our students will have access to rigorous new learning with their teachers’ support.”

DPS will purchase 20,016 Chromebooks through reserve funding (the district’s unreserved fund balance) in advance of receiving federal CARES Act funding that will partially offset the cost. When combined with the district’s current Chromebook inventory, there will be enough Chromebooks for every student from kindergarten to twelfth grade to have a device. The Lenovo Chromebooks, support services, and charging/storage carts will cost $7,848,357.

The Chromebook purchase is part of a comprehensive digital learning strategy that will require significant additional funds from public sources and community supporters to ensure that all DPS students have access to devices and connectivity, skills, and high-quality instruction. The strategy includes expansion of network access; support for students, staff, and families to utilize devices for remote learning; the selection of learning management systems to support teachers and students; and ongoing professional development for teachers to successfully deliver remote instruction. The Durham Public Schools Foundation will soon launch a campaign to rally financial and logistical support for the DPS One-to-One Initiative, with leaders of the campaign to be announced shortly.