Supply donation helps the Graham School bridge the ‘homework gap’

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Over the course of ten months, staff and students at the Graham School have pivoted their routines to an entirely remote learning model.

“I’d kind of describe it as a roller coaster of emotions,” said Logan Morris, a senior at the Graham School. “I’m still trying to get used to it.”

Friday, Morris and his family were among the cars lined up in a drive-thru style school supply distribution.

“To have the proper tools is huge to be able to access instruction and access the curriculum,” said Amy Vickroy, the principal at the Graham School.

The public charter school enrolled about 200 9th-12th graders for the 2020-2021 school year, most of which have been attending virtual classes since the previous spring. According to U.S. News & World Report, 53 percent of the school’s students are considered economically disadvantaged.

“Even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic, equity is a major issue,” Vickroy explained. “And so this really helps us be a little more equitable in our practices, making sure the kids have the technology that they need.”

Friday, the school was distributing new laptops and backpacks full of essential supplies to its families. The resources were part of a donation from the “Round Up for Real Change” initiative. Chipotle restaurants featured the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF), encouraging customers to round up their orders to the next highest dollar amount and donate the proceeds to underserved schools.

The fundraiser was able to purchase supplies for 3,100 students nationwide.

study by the Alliance for Excellent Education found students of color experience a disproportionate lack of access to computers and proper school supplies, compared to the white peers. In Ohio, the study found more than 20 percent of Black students do not have access to a computer at home, compared to 8 percent of white students.

Vickroy explained the students were able to borrow laptops from the school to take home and special funding was able to provide broadband internet to households without access. She called the computer donation a “game-changer” and said each student owning their own laptops would ease some of the stress of an unconventional school year.

“It really just helps with that equity piece and making sure all of the kids have the best access to education that we can give them,” she said.

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