The Rotary Club of Portsmouth working with its Canadian partners-the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East and the Rotary Club of Bracebridge, in cooperation with their for Dominica Foundation are celebrating the realization of their goal to provide information technologies to twenty-three schools in Dominica.
Most of the funding for the project came from Rotary International Global Grant. A donation of more than 1700 used Chromebook computers and other pieces of technical equipment was secured by the IT for Dominica Foundation from partners in Alberta, Canada. The new value of the donated equipment (Chromebooks, switches, wireless access points, projectors, cables, weather safe cases, transport and installations) is in excess of 1.5 million Canadian dollars ($3 million EC, $1.1 million USD). The current/ used value is estimated at 1 million Canadian dollars ($2 million EC, $0.76 million USD).
For the past two weeks a team has been working in schools across the island. The team includes Hans Schilders and Lise Van de Kamp fro he Rotary Club of Portsmouth DM, Andrew and Geri Bronson from the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East, as well as Dr. Maurice Hollingsworth, IT for Dominica Foundation Co-Founder and President and his Technical team from Alberta, Canada.
This all volunteer team included Jason Yaremchuk, Director of Technology from Northern Gateway Public Schools, Chris Sluggett, Lead Network Analyst from Wolf Creek Public Schools, Jake Cameron System Support Specialist from the University of Lethbridge and Chris Holligsworth, IT for Dominica Foundation Fundraising Committee Chairperson.
Their efforts were fully supported by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development in Dominica and their technical team led by ICT Coordinator Timothy Lavinier.
The schools were selected by the IT for Dominica Foundation Board of Directors. IT for Dominica has an almost 20-year history, working with the Ministry of Education, schools and teachers on the island providing technology focused professional development through their summer institutes. The selection process involved schools completing a comprehensive online application. Each school was also asked to complete a Community Need Assessment, gathering input from stakeholders including students, teachers and parents. In total 38 schools, (29 primary and 9 secondary) completed the online application.
Of those, 23 completed the community needs assessment. The information received in each application was carefully considered with a focus on identified needs and the plans each school shared for using the new technologies to improve teaching and learning. Twenty three schools were selected to receive learning technology installations as part of the Dominica Foundation Rotary Global Grant partnership.
Each school received Chromebooks weather safe cases or storage particularly in the event of severe weather, one or more digital projectors, wireless access points, switches, and power bars for charging.
Before the Canadian team left Dominica on November 23rd, installation were completed in 20 primary schools as well as at CALLS, an alternative school for at risk youth in Portsmouth. Two of the primary schools that successfully applied are scheduled for major reconstruction ad will be cabled and networked once this work is complete.
Technologies were also provided to Dominica Association of teachers. These will be used to support teachers island wide as they work to develop skills and access resources to serve higher level learning in their schools.
In addition, technologies were provided to the Dominica Community High School in recognition of their ongoing support for the work of the IT for Dominica Foundation and as a trial program that will help the foundation explore the use of Chromebooks at the high school level. The foundation has a three year plan to replace learning technologies in all schools on the island that still need them. Their work over the next year will focus on raising the funds necessary to install technologies in more schools in November of 2020.
In addition the IT for Dominica Summer Institute offering professional development to Dominican teacher, is scheduled for July. His year will mark the eighteenth time that teams of volunteer Alberta teachers have travelled to Dominica o offer summer courses.
More information on the foundation, its history and its work in Dominica can be found online at www.itfordominica.com.