Schools have rushed to deliver students the technology to support distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic. But the technology divide between persists, leaving low-income students without the tools necessary to succeed.
Four Long Beach high schools were the recipients of nearly $90,000 in new technology to support distance learning through the pandemic thanks to a partnership among Long Beach teachers, L.A. nonprofits and entertainment industry executives. The coalition’s gift was facilitated by the Greater L.A. Education Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
The distance learning tech — tablets, wireless hotspots, and headphones — were distributed to students at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Wilson High School, Cabrillo High School and Jordan High School.
The partnership was due in large part to Long Beach native and co-founder of CMNTY Culture, Malik Rasheed. Rasheed galvanized a team of longtime collaborators including Zach Katz of Raised in Space; Phillip Lawrence, CEO and co-founder of CMNTY Culture; Julian Petty, EVP and Head of Business Affairs at Warner Records; and Ashley Calhoun, Head of Creative at Pulse Music Group.
He also connected with Long Beach Polytechnic High School staff members Elizabeth Sanchez and Michael Gray, who provided insight into the urgent need for technology and helped to receive the donation and support distribution to families.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with local philanthropists to close the digital divide," President of the Greater LA Education Foundation John Garcia said in a statement. "We know that low-income students have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and it will take a collective effort to ensure our most vulnerable students don’t fall behind."
Rasheed was raised in Long Beach's Springdale housing projects, and has maintained a deep commitment to students facing circumstances similar to his growing up.
"My hope is that our small contribution helps alleviate a little of the pain. Let these kids know that we care. And that we believe in them, that we see them,” Rasheed said in a statement.