GSA Donates Computers to Kramer Middle School
Dorothy Rowley | 3/31/2011, 1:03 a.m.
Access to technology has become easier for students at Kramer Middle School following a generous donation from the federal government.
During a March 23 visit to the Southeast school where the General Services Administration (GSA) launched its Computers for Learning (CFL) initiative for District schools, officials donated 24 surplus laptops as well as 24 monitors and docking stations that will help students prepare their lessons while gaining more insight navigating the virtual world.
"For free -- computer equipment, monitors, key boards, printers - it sounds too good to be true," said GSA administrator Julia Hudson.
The CFL project enables government to give back to the community. But Hudson said the D.C. area's effort has not been as vibrant as in the past.
"My understanding is that this program has been severely under-utilized in the past several years. I think that there are only 65 schools that are participating throughout the entire region," Hudson, 44, said.
"I think that's an utter travesty," she said, adding that all schools in the D.C. area are eligible to participate -- including charter and parochial facilities.
"There is no cost to schools - all they have to do is register," said Hudson, a native Washingtonian. "Then they can go out to the [GSA] warehouse in Springfield [Va.] and simply pick out whatever they want."
Hudson said that next month a similar launch will take place in Prince George's County. After that, the program moves on to districts in Montgomery County and Northern Virginia.
City Council Chairman Kwame Brown counted among the local dignitaries who attended the event. He said Kramer's students deserved the computers.
"These new computers will bring life to Kramer Middle School and bring access to hundreds of students all across the District," Brown, 40, said.
"I look forward to returning next year and learning about the significant gains in reading proficiency as well as other benefits that stand to be gained from this generous gift."
Kramer Principal Kwame Simmons, 34, described the donations as a major stepping stone for the school.
"Our expectation for Kramer is to provide a world-class 21st century education. That does not mean we are trying to compete with other schools in Ward 8 or with other schools in Washington, D.C.," Simmons said.
"Our intent is for Kramer Middle School students to have the intellectual capacity to compete with any student at their age level, anywhere in this world."
To that end, Simmons said Kramer will put to use whatever resources become available.
"So the moment that we found out that GSA had a Computers for Learning program, I got on the phone and I called and called, and eventually got connected to them and they said 'we need to make it happen,'" Simmons recalled. "With the new computers we got a state-of-the-art set up."
Simmons also expressed his students' gratitude. He said GSA officials initially came out to the school on March 21 to install the computers. Students work on Dell computers donated by the General Services Administration. The government agency kicked-off its Computers for Learning program at Kramer Middle School in Southeast on Wed., March 23. / Courtesy photo
"That morning I announced to students that they would see some new things when they got upstairs," Simmons said.
"And when they got up there and saw them, they clapped. They just jumped up and down inside that auditorium." WI