As you know, we’re always trying to attract solid, working laptops that we can clean off, clean up, test and test again to deliver to students who can’t afford a computer for school. Most of the time, this is a PC or a Chromebook.
But we also get MacBook donations (thank you!) that we reserve for special needs students. Their teachers find that Apple products are easier to implement and have a broader range of software designed for their students. It’s worth holding them aside.
And, in March, we had a perfect match: we had MacBooks that were ready to go and a school that (really) needed them.
Heywood Avenue School (Orange, NJ) had a big tech ask
As a result of the COVID crisis, all the devices in the Orange Township Public School District had either been given out or had just given up. Heywood Avenue School Principal Faith Alcantara noted, “In the last 2 weeks I’ve collected about 20 devices that have failed. The District has placed an order but schools everywhere are competing for the same inventory. It’s especially challenging for my teachers while we are fully remote with equipment that is failing or has to be shared by different family members.”
With a large, underprivileged student population at Heywood Avenue School ranging from grades K-7, the children in contained classrooms and resource support classrooms are learning remotely and using computers that aren’t adapted for their abilities. “It’s not just needing a working computer. Teachers have found that the Macs have better functionality allowing for more effective teaching methods for these particular students. It’s important to remove any barrier to student success and ability to learn.”
A “Donors Choose” request kicked it off
Ms. Muller, a resource classroom teacher at Heywood Avenue School in Orange, NJ, posted a desperate online request for MacBooks to replace older Chromebooks that were in various stages of deterioration (no speaker, no camera, no battery life, no internet connectivity, etc.) for her special education students. I found the online request and then volunteers coordinated the donation, pickup, and delivery of 17 refurbished and ready-to-go MacBooks to the Heywood Avenue School resource classroom students. The school then arranged safe pickup or delivery to each student in need. As a result, 17 families will be able to keep the donated Apple MacBooks as a permanent learning tool for each child.
Ms. Alcantara has only praise for her teachers, students and families during the COVID school crisis, “Students must have a device that includes a camera, connectivity, and speakers to allow teachers to effectively teach. Teachers need up-to-date and effective technology and, although schools have made investments, who would have predicted that in this situation? Since March 2020, we have worked tirelessly to remove all barriers to our [students’] learning to ensure that all students have devices and an internet connection. Our students are working diligently to remain connected and engaged in their learning activity.”
Her appreciation extended to the Laptop Upcycle donation. “We are excited that 17 of our students will be able to utilize Apple MacBooks as we have found that they often work better than the Chromebooks the majority of our students use. We cannot thank you enough for supporting the students of Heywood Avenue School.”
Communities keeping the faith
Laptop Upcycle can support schools like Heywood Elementary only because of the technology donations and funding that our supporters provide. And sometimes, that niche computer that isn’t part of our usual distribution is perfect for another student audience in need. In this case, the students in a particular resource classroom benefited mightily.
We don’t hand out laptops for these cups and candy, but boy this was a thank you that we all appreciated.
To learn more about Heywood Avenue School and its tremendous principal Faith Alcantara, click here. Thank you to all our supporters for your continuous stream of donations and word of mouth messaging. You're doing great work.
Laptop Upcycle Board Member