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Hundreds of Chromebooks Donated to Donna ISD Students

Hundreds of Chromebooks Donated to Donna ISD Students

As many as 350 free Dell Chromebooks were given away to some of Donna ISD’s less fortunate students Thurs., April 29 thanks to a Valley-wide initiative led by RGV FOCUS in collaboration with Educate Texas and in partnership with the Donna Independent School District.

“RGV FOCUS worked with Dell to help bridge the digital divide that is present here in the Rio Grande Valley,” RGV FOCUS Senior Director Rodney Rodriguez said. “When we started, we sent out surveys to Valley school districts and through those responses, we submitted them to Dell along with data to support why we needed the Chromebooks in our region. Initially, they were giving us 1,100 but because of the need, they increased the total to 2,300 Chromebooks for the RGV. Donna ISD was our first appointment and we’re excited.”

DISD Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez commended the nonprofit organizations and the Dell Computer Company for supporting the Donna ISD community. “We sincerely appreciate this generous donation,” Dr. Azaiez said. “Because of contributions like these, our district is able to provide additional resources to help our neediest of students and their families.”

The Chromebooks, valued at over $200,000, were distributed to families of students who qualified based on their demographics and criteria provided by RGV FOCUS. The devices were handed out (1 per family) during a drive-by set up at the Todd Middle School gym parking lot.

Maria Castro’s son was among those receiving one of the devices. In addition to him, she has two other children at the elementary level. “I am very happy, excited, and grateful to everyone involved who made this happen,” Castro said. “This computer is a blessing because it will allow me to help my children with their school work.”

While Donna ISD provides all of its students with a campus assigned device, district administrators said there is always a need for more Chromebooks.

“We have 940 students who qualified," Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Rashad Rana said. "So we decided to distribute the devices proportionately to our campuses who had more students in need.”

Rana said the students who received the devices will be able to keep them. “Campus assigned devices are property of the school district and students are required to turn them in at the end of each school year,” Rana said. “These particular devices will stay with the families. That is the intent of this project. RGV FOCUS’s goal is to help families that are not able to afford a device of their own.”

Rana said these devices will be helpful in many ways. “These devices can serve as a backup if any issues occur with their assigned device,” Rana said. “In addition, with the school year coming to an end, students will be turning in their devices; however, families receiving these Chromebooks will have the opportunity to continue learning in the summer.”