Successful initiatives undertaken by the Martinsville City School division to bridge digital equity challenges are being recognized state and nation-wide.
Director of Technology Steve Tatum has been a leader in providing digital equity for MCPS students.
In May, the school division was offered the opportunity to participate with EducationSuperHighway on a pilot project, Digital Equity K-12, to collect data on digital connectivity of students at home.
In light of the schools’ shut down as a result of COVID-19, this project helped the school system collect current data on students’ home digital connectivity, which provided a blueprint for the district to move forward to provide digital equity.
As a result of participating with the Digital Bridge K-12 project, Tatum was invited to share how the division collected data and how the district is using that data to achieve digital equity for all students.
On August 12, Tatum was a contributor to the Virginia Department of Education Technology Directors’ Webinar Series. The webinar titled, ‘Connecting Virginia Students for Remote Learning: A Guide to Digital Equity Needs Assessments,’ highlighted the successful work done by city schools in cooperation with EducationSuperHighway.
Tatum was invited by the I4TL Center for Research and Innovation to contribute to their podcast series, Teaching and Learning Research Community Interview Episode VII: Technology – Bridging the Home-School Learning Gap on August 19.
“Bridging the Home-School Learning Gap” was the seventh installment of the TLRC Researcher-Practitioner Interview series. EducationSuperHighway Researcher Evan Shea and Tatum discussed strategies for getting proactive about home connectivity. The EducationSuperHighway Digital Bridge K-12 pilot program was reviewed, and Tatum shared lessons learned from the district’s commitment to providing an equitable education for 100 percent of students and families.
Additionally, while continuing to work on a solution to provide internet to the home of students who are not connected, Tatum has contributed to an upcoming article in Education Week detailing what the school division is doing for students who are learning remotely, but do not have adequate internet or digital device at home.
City schools also will be featured on the Virginia Risk Sharing Association (VRSA) blog, social media, and in an upcoming addition of the VRSA Quarterly Newsletter. Tatum will share why the district is providing computers to students, how the effort helps students, and the value of having a Portable Computer endorsement with VRSA.
“I am very proud of this great accomplishment,” said Martinsville City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Zeb Talley. “Tatum and his department continue to prepare our students for their next educational level in technology. His efforts promote MCPS’ mission of individualized student instruction.”
Tatum has been employed in the division for 30 years. He worked as a classroom teacher for 15 years and with the technology department for 15 years, serving as Director of Technology for the last eight years.
The I4TL Center for Research and Innovation is a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating change across K-12 learning communities. The center provides knowledge and services to children and adults through education-related research with the aim of accelerating innovation across schools and communities. I4TL’s mission is to empower schools and communities by providing the research and resources needed to develop educational programming that positively impacts individuals at all stages of their lives.
EducationSuperHighway was founded in 2012 with the mission of upgrading the Internet access in every public-school classroom in America. The organization believes that digital learning has the potential to provide all students with equal access to educational opportunity and that every school requires high-speed broadband to make that opportunity a reality. EducationSuperHighway is funded by national philanthropic organizations including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Salesforce Foundation, and their mission is supported by governors in all 50 states and America’s leading CEOs.