When it comes to going above and beyond for students, Ryan Stockham fits the bill.
Stockham serves as the District Technology Supervisor for Minford Local Schools and on Dec. 7, he and his assistant Tim Coriell set out in a box truck to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to pickup over $800,000 worth of new HP laptops. Amounting to 1,345 individual laptops.
The district received the laptops through the Department of Defense Computers for Learning Program.
“The Department of Defense, like any other Government agency has an entire section for asset acquisition and disposal. When they have excess equipment, they are required by law to offer it to other agencies,” explained Stockham. “There was a program created to help public schools by giving them the ability to acquire some of the technology items that they dispose that are not claimed by other agencies. If schools do not pickup the equipment, then they are usually sent to public government auctions.”
Stockham says the school applied to participate in the program, which granted them access to a database allowing them to find equipment that is listed as excess. If the equipment is of use to the district, there is another application process to determine the need.
“There may be many schools that apply for something or maybe just a few, but we have no way of knowing, they either approve or deny, and that’s it. One thing about the site where the equipment is listed is that the details listed are very vague. It is often hard to determine if something would be useful or if it’s just junk,” said Stockham.
Stockham says often times, he has to contact the location where the items are stored in order to get more information, making the process difficult.
“I have been doing this for over five years now and one thing that I have insisted on doing is almost always I personally make the trips to get the equipment,” said Stockham. “In doing this, I have built a lot of relationships with the folks that really know what’s going on. This has helped tremendously in quickly getting information when needed and being first in line a lot of times. My contacts will often let me know ahead of time of items that may be of interest to us that are coming online soon so I can look out for them. You may go two to three months and not see anything worth the time and effort and it can be discouraging and you slack off in looking, but I’ve just made it part of my daily routine. Even if I’ve gone months without finding anything, I still look every day, even weekends. It has certainly paid off.”
Case in point, most recently. The laptops acquired last week are still unopened in their boxes, with two years of full manufacturer’s warranty.
These laptops, along with other laptops purchased over the years, will allow the district to reach the 1:1 ratio. Meaning, each student in the district will have access to a computer any time it is needed.
“This is a huge deal in an ever-changing education landscape where technology is tightly woven into everything we do. Without equitable access, it is very difficult to implement and integrate technology to its full potential,” explained Stockham. “The online resources, both free and services we pay for, are absolutely wonderful resources to integrate in the classroom, but very hard to do when every student can’t access them at one time. That barrier is now broken at Minford and at a minimal cost.”
Stockham says the new technology will take some time to implement, but will be well worth it once completed.
“The initial thought is that with these new 1,345 laptops, combined with the 300+ Chromebooks that we’ve recently purchased over the past few years, we should be able to put sets of 24 laptops in nearly every classroom in the district,” said Stockham. “This will allow teachers to have access when they need it, and by keeping them safe and secured in the classrooms, the devices should last much longer, with fewer repair and maintenance costs.”
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