Brice Bunner

Sustainability Comes to the Classroom for United Schools

Monitors are a boon to students in today’s schools, and GoodTogether®️ has helped connect corporate donors to deliver a deluge of monitors to the United Schools Network (USN). USN came to GoodTogether with a request for monitors for their classrooms because without monitors, students in our current education system can’t follow along with their lessons, watch video instruction, or (with the pandemic) see their teachers, all of which are critical for learning.

United Schools is a network of high-performing, college-preparatory public charter schools located in Franklinton and the Near East Side. Their four schools serve more than 1,000 students in grades K-8—100% of whom are economically disadvantaged and arrive an average of 2-3 grade levels behind their peers. This separation is often due to the lack of access to critical technology used for education.

Sustainability Comes to the Classroom for United Schools (1)

The Story of a Screen

A total of 50 monitors were available from a variety of local and national corporation’s surplus IT assets. Monitors that were given to Sage simply because there was no use for them at their respective corporate offices. Often, new devices come with monitors as a standard issue, like keyboards. And most offices leave those monitors in their packaging; connecting their new CPU to the existing screens at their workstations.

The result of this inefficiency—inherent in most corporate IT departments—are that dozens of brand-new monitors become surplus—a cache of IT assets that are typically discarded or even shredded. Thankfully, GoodTogether exists to find these surplus caches and connect them with the real needs of organizations like United Schools.

Sourcing 50 monitors through traditional channels would make these devices prohibitively expensive for an institution like USN. Sadly, when lack of access hits, it is often the children who suffer most. Classrooms stagnate without screens—especially when the living room is the classroom. United Schools needed these monitors to ensure their students receive the best chance for success. 

Diana Wakim, Development Director for USN says, “These monitors would allow teachers to see their students while providing online instruction.” Being distanced due to the coronavirus means certain teacher/student interaction is lost and the monitors are key to reconnecting with remote students. As Wakim said about this visual interaction: “it leads to a stronger connection, picking up on nonverbal cues such as a furrowed brow or quizzical look that tells a teacher to go back and explain again.” Key signals that teachers use to bring support to struggling students.

But the poetry of sustainable electronics is that monitors otherwise destined for the landfill have been given new life in a school where the students were at risk of falling into the digital divide. The United Schools’ campus is now alive with activity, and the students seamlessly on par with, or surpassing, their peers who attend other schools. What could have been a statistic has become a success story. And this is all thanks to the sustainable treatment of IT assets.

Sage was able to answer the call for these monitors because of the generous corporations they have as clients. The wonderful economy of corporate IT assets, when the inherent value of devices can be rescued from the shredder, is put to the best work of building our community. So long as the outlook is sustainability, this economy is possible. And, as with these United Schools Network monitors, connecting real need to the real value of devices are two ideas that are truly Good Together.

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