NEWARK / IRVINGTON, NJ — The International WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region has officially launched a new educational program, “Closing the Homework Gap: Bridging the Digital Divide for Students and Families,” at its self-titled webinar. WeLoveU’s program is a direct response to the pressing technology crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, WeLoveU will be focusing on Essex County public schools. Studies show that Essex County students, families and teachers feel the effects of the digital divide more than other counties in the Garden State. Irvington Superintendent of Schools April Vauss and Newark Superintendent of Schools Roger Leon participated in the webinar, sharing how the transition to remote learning has impacted students and what’s needed to support them this school year.
“It is not good enough for most or many of our students to have equal access to the digital tools to have a quality educational experience through instructional delivery,” Vauss said. “We must ensure that all our students have access. This will further our goal in building our community, one student at a time.”
“All of our students must have equitable access to technology that allows them to engage in rigorous discourse with their teachers and peers,” Leon said. “This type of instruction and classroom dialogue is essential for our students to maintain their competitive edge in the world. The digital divide is not a technology issue, but rather one of equity and democracy.”
“In bridging the digital divide, we are not just simply investing our time and efforts in the students’ 2020-2021 academic year but rather the academic future for them, their families and our communities,” said John Casas, WeLoveU’s vice president of community engagement.
An estimated 230,000 students in New Jersey’s public schools are challenged with a learning curve that is out of their control: the homework gap — the inability to learn, complete assignments and do homework due to limited access to technology. In an effort to facilitate distance learning, the WeLoveU Foundation will be donating Chromebooks to school districts unable to provide all students with these essential resources.