294 Rockwall children given free surplus computers by RISD as early Christmas presents

Two hundred ninety-four Rockwall area children, who previously did not have access to a computer outside of school, received early Christmas presents and now have one at home, thanks to a new Rockwall ISD free surplus computer giveaway program implemented just before Christmas.

According to RISD Communications Director Sheri Fowler, one hundred computers were given away by the school district Dec. 16 at the RISD administration building as part of the district’s “Bridging Home and School” program, developed by Assistant Superintendent Debbie Smothermon and Director of Technology & Information Services Chris Gasaway and his staff.

State legislation allows school districts to place computer equipment that has been declared surplus into the homes of students who have no access to this type of technology outside of school, Fowler explained.

“Under legislative guidelines, all equipment remains the property of RISD, but eligible families are provided the computers free of charge and may keep them in their homes until their student graduates or withdraws from the district or until five years has passed.”

Fowler said families with students in second through sixth grade were invited to apply.

“The district received 256 applications which were evaluated by specific criteria. One hundred students and their families who met the criteria were selected through the application process. Every elementary campus had at least one recipient. In order to receive the equipment, these families were required to attend three training sessions. Computers were distributed at the final session on Dec. 16.”

In addition to the mandatory trainings, the district is providing three optional training sessions for families. The district has also implemented a support structure which includes technical assistance and maintenance/repair access.

“It was absolutely a case of Christmas coming early,” said Fowler.

“The families were so excited and so grateful to be a part of the program and the district is thrilled to find a use for surplus technology that directly benefits students and their families.  It is an ultimate win-win situation.”

By J.J. Smith.


Leave a Reply