MELS needs #100ComputersIn100Days

Cost Breakdown

100 Computers x approximately $300/laptop = $30,000.00*

*This is our most cost-effective estimate. Receiving this amount will allow us to obtain the computers we need but will make it difficult to maintain and fix computers that need it.

~~~~~

In a school-wide survey:
-12.3% of students were satisfied with the computers at MELS.

-3% of students were very confident that computers at MELS would work properly (type and access the Internet)

“It would... make me feel good to know I can rely on the school if I don’t have a computer at home.”-MELS Student

We need #100ComputersIn100Days for the start of the new school year!

This is our story...

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Our school, the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (MELS) in Queens, NY, is home to a talented community that  cares about supporting our beautiful, diverse student body and building a sustainable future for them. In the ten years since its founding, MELS has been established as a Showcase School by the NYC Department of Education and one of ten Expeditionary Learning Mentor Schools from across the United States. In 2016, the New York Post recognized MELS as one of the “hidden gems” of the NYC public school system.

Our student attendance rate is a stellar 96%. 98.1% of our students graduate in four years, and 98% of our students apply and are accepted into college!

Despite this strong community and track record, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a challenge that we must seek assistance in overcoming.

As we, and other public schools, work to support students and families during the unprecedented crisis brought on by COVID-19, the needs of our students and the inequities that exist in our city and school system have become abundantly clear.

MELS is a Title I school, meaning a majority of our students receive free or reduced-price lunch. These students have been greatly impacted by COVID-19; many students have seen this virus impact their families and loved ones directly. With massive budget cuts to education across the city and state (a projected $827 million in cuts to public school funding in NYC) we now urgently seek funding to fill this budget gap and provide the education our students deserve. 

In particular, we are asking for support in providing laptops for our students. We want to bring in #100ComputersIn100Days before we start the new school year. These computers will allow us to merely return to where we started in September 2019. 

When we were forced to transition to remote learning in March, many of our students lacked the technology at home to participate. From the onset, our school worked to ensure that all students could engage online. This meant that we had to remove laptops available in classrooms and laptop carts to deliver them to the hands of students at home. Looking ahead, we are unsure of the condition of these computers at the end of the year and how we will facilitate their return to MELS. 

This container (below), in an English classroom, typically holds and charges 16 laptops (about one for every two students). There are many classrooms at MELS without any laptops available (carts need to be signed out). This container has been emptied so the laptops could be delivered to students and families in our school community. It is unclear about how we will get these laptops back to be ready for the upcoming school year.

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Each year, we face a need for laptops and similar devices in our school. Many of the existing laptops students used were missing keys, faced irreparable technical issues (such as no start up or no internet connection), and were effectively unusable for students. Staff members had to be creative in their instruction to make sure that students could complete their work and push past these challenges.

“[teachers] lower the amount of tasks we can accomplish within a certain time because it takes so long to find a computer that works and have it start up.”
-MELS High School Student

“I avoid [using computers] now unless they are absolutely necessary for a task because they are so unreliable.”-MELS Teacher

“sometimes the computer at school would shut down in the middle of doing the [college] application process”-MELS 12th Grader

Our students are expected to compete with others from around New York City, and some of their competitors attend schools with functioning electronics and high-speed internet. How can our students demonstrate their brilliant thinking, if they can’t reliably access technology and the internet like their peers elsewhere in the city?

This (below) is an example of a laptop, from a mobile cart, that many students use throughout the year due to the lack of availability of working computers/devices. Even if it is able to access the internet, the lack of keys (notably the Space Bar and eleven letters of the alphabet) make it extremely challenging to learn with.

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Compounding this challenge is the reality that our school will need to redesign our technology plan for students. Moving forward, the new normal in our world could likely include periods of remote learning as recurring waves of the virus require social distancing and school closures. For private schools that are able to provide devices to every student, they will be able to get ahead and stay ahead in the ‘new world.’ Public schools like ours will fall farther and farther behind with each pause in the school year. 

In closing, MELS students know that new computers would...

"allow students to feel confident"
                                                                                                 
"get more things done"

"make school work on computers more enjoyable and efficient"

and "bring a positive change to my school experience because I would use them to my full advantage."

Obtaining #100ComputersIn100Days will not be the only step in our work, but it will serve as the foundation for a new technology plan that will help our community move forward, and give our students the education they deserve, in the uncertain times ahead.

From the MELS Community to Yours, thank you for your donation and time.

Disclaimer: Your contribution will not affect any business dealings with the NYC Department of Education or City of New York or provide special access to NYC DOE or City officials.

Donations

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  • Judith Gutman 
    • $100 
    • 4 d
  • Danielle Laker 
    • $30 
    • 5 d
  • Erika Stark 
    • $20 
    • 5 d
  • Kari Jones 
    • $20 
    • 13 d
  • Katy Osborne Chiu 
    • $50 
    • 14 d
See all

Fundraising team: The MELS Community (2)

Gus Jacobson 
Organizer
Forest Hills, NY
PTA of MELS Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
Learn more
Kathleen Scarpa 
Team member
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