unspecifiedBy Clare S. Richie

Every Hope-Hill Elementary School (HHES) third grade family will receive a laptop to improve student performance in literacy and math, provide access to innovative technology, and increase family engagement. This digital inclusion for the Old Fourth Ward public school is possible thanks to a pilot with the Martin Luther King Sr. Community Resources Collaborative (MLK Sr. Collaborative), HHES, and PowerMyLearning, and a seed grant from Fulton Aging and Youth Services Department.

As a part of the pilot, families of third grade HHES students will receive technology training and tools to support continued learning at home. These tools include a laptop loaded with 40 digital learning programs and Microsoft Office software.

“Our goal is to disrupt the poverty cycle faced by many families in HHES,” said Detria Russell, MLK Sr. Collaborative Executive Director.

MLK Sr. Collaborative is a non-profit based in the King Historic District that provides resources and tools for families to face daily challenges and become self-sufficient.

Through ongoing discussions with the HHES Principal Maureen Wheeler, Russell realized that Hope-Hill could benefit from a creative program to assist teachers with innovative learning options and increased family engagement. So the nonprofit developed the pilot initiative and brought together key partners to reach students, teachers and parents.

Wheeler and MLK Sr. Collaborative targeted third graders, since performance for that school year can be an indicator of a child’s success in future years.

“These resources will be invaluable to our students. Providing all third graders with a laptop and parents with training, will allow us to expose students to a plethora of opportunities beyond the school day,” Wheeler explained.

PowerMyLearning, the national nonprofit that leverages technology to strengthen learning, will donate the laptops loaded with educational software programs. They’ll also provide training for parents and teachers on how to engage the students in modules that strengthen literacy and math skills as well as how to care for the device.

Even though the educational software programs don’t require Internet access, participating parents may access free Internet service at the MLK Sr. Complex Cyber Café, six days a week. Once the pilot is completed, performance data collected on students and parents will inform future initiatives.

“While we have started with the 3rd grade, it would be our wish to provide this opportunity to more grades,” Russell said.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.