What did the District do or use to merit recognition?
DPSCD’s challenge quickly came into focus when schools shifted to remote learning last academic year; too many Detroit families did not have access to a device or internet, and tackling that barrier would be a key lever for ensuring students could re-engage with learning as quickly as possible.
DPSCD rallied several community partners to undertake an ambitious project, Connected Futures, to distribute an internet-connected device to every student in the District by the first day of school. DPSCD worked with partners to source and receive the devices despite pandemic disruptions to the global supply chain. By the beginning of Summer 2020 the District launched a deployment effort across 19 sites to distribute one device for each student, including recent graduates who could use their devices for college or the world of work. In that first wave, DPSCD distributed more than 44,000 devices.
After the summer deployment, DPSCD pivoted to providing technical support for more than 10,000 students, families, and staff. Students and families needed help operating the devices and accessing and using learning apps that were central to the District’s online learning strategy. On December 1, 2020, 13 Technology and Family Resource Hubs were launched across Detroit.
The hubs offer device support and operation materials, access to meals and community services, such as utilities assistance, COVID-19 screenings, and connections to childcare options. At least four hubs are open Monday through Saturday until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., providing opportunities for working families access to the resources they need.