Op-Ed: Eliminating Barriers

Like every dad, I want to provide my daughter with everything she needs to succeed in school and in life. But as a parent raising a child in an increasingly connected world, I’ve struggled to provide my daughter the technology she needs to stay ahead of the curve. For a long time, I couldn’t afford to buy my daughter a computer or provide her with internet access, which was incredibly frustrating. My daughter would often have to complete assignments and projects at a friend’s house or the library. Then the JHS 80 community – where my daughter is a seventh grader –came to the rescue.

The school realized that many students, like my daughter, did not have access to technology at home. As a result, this school year more than 100 students received an iPad and Wi-Fi was installed in our homes. The school not only provided the technology, but also gave us – the parents – training on how to use it to support our kids in their learning. I was astounded by the resources available on her tablet. My daughter has access to virtual coaches, online libraries, advanced courses, research guides, and 24-hour feedback. I am also able to see her coursework, deadlines, test dates, and track her progress.

I am proud to be part of a school community that addresses the needs of every family and strives to provide equity and excellence for every student.

JHS 80 is a Renewal School. That means that our community receives additional services, not just to support students in the classroom, but to help them succeed at home. For example, our free Wi-Fi was possible through a partnership with the New York Public Library to help close the digital divide and address the needs of over two million New Yorkers who do not have internet at home.

With daily access to an iPad, my daughter always come to school prepared to learn with no more obstacles. I am proud of what she has accomplished so far – she is more independent and takes ownership of her work. And she is teaching me at home how to use the technology.

At JHS 80 everyone gets a chance to advance and succeed, together.


Juan Lazala is a parent of a student at JHS 80

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