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Alachua County School Members take on district-wide technology challenges

The board members asked staff to negotiate with the county to receive more CARES Act funding to improve tech issues.
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 11:25 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - While the first day of classes in Alachua County went smoothly for some students, internet connection and schedule change requests posed a problem for others.

It’s an issue that falls on the shoulders of school district staff as they work to make Digital Academy and brick & mortar learning easy and safe for all. One problem board members and staff faces is finding the funds to make necessary improvements in technology.

Staff’s next plan of action is to start negotiating with county officials for more CARES Act funding to not only improve technology but find the means to help teachers.

“And we continue to work through those,” said Jennifer Wise, the executive director of K-12 curriculum for Alachua County. Wise is tasked with making sure Digital Academy students and brick & mortar students receive the same level of education.

“It’s working very well for some people,” mentioned school board member Rob Hyatt. He reminded people listening in on the meeting and other board members that all the preparation over the summer yielded positive results for some students and parents.

From Brick & Mortar to Digital Academy and vice versa, school district staff dealt with calls from parents to switch their student’s method of learning due to tech issues.

“There have been some growing pains as we embark on a brand new way of teaching that is extremely complex,” Wise added. “And that proficiency and comfort for our teachers and our students and our families is something that we know will continue to get better.”

So far, the district distributed more than 3,200 laptops and more than 1,000 hotspots to students.

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