An estimated 60 percent of jobs in the United States require a working knowledge of information technology. Armed with this data and the technology goals of the U.S. Department of Education, the California Department of Education has challenged state schools to help students “connect, compute and compete” for their future.
Locally, the San Diego Unified School District has developed Operation: Sunrise to help students meet these state and federal goals. Operation: Sunrise is focused on expanding the use of computer technology by students, teachers and parents to raise reading and mathematics achievement and increase learning and creativity.
Many children are already skilled in and welcome the new focus on computer-based learning due largely to the proliferation of computer games and Internet “surfing.” Their parents, however, may be behind the learning curve and lack access to the equipment to facilitate learning.
It was this gap in understanding and access that led the San Diego Unified School District’s Urban Systemic Initiative and the Center for Parent Involvement in Education (CPIE) to develop a landmark project , the first computer center for parents of fourth and fifth grade students in East San Diego and East County.
A grand opening of the computer center was held Feb. 1 at the Jacobs Center for Nonprofit Innovation on Federal Boulevard.
The parent computer center is the first project to identify and act on the need to partner parents, children, schools and community organizations in technology education.
– Educating Parents
About Student Software
The goal of this unique initiative is to educate parents about the computer software and resources their children are using. Project developers also hope that parents will increase their own knowledge and skills while participating with their children in activities that use computers to teach reading, mathematics and language arts.
The Jacobs Center, an operating foundation that works in partnership with community residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses to explore new ways to invest in and strengthen neighborhoods, is providing the office space to house the center.
“We are excited to be part of this project because it goes right to the heart of what we stand for , working together to empower people to help themselves, their families and others within the community,” said Jennifer Vanica, executive director.
Pacific Bell is also providing technical support and recently donated $5,000 to the computer center.
The new center will primarily serve parents and their fourth- and fifth-graders from Kennedy, Hamilton, Jackson, Marshall and Clay elementary schools.
“I am convinced that this project is the beginning of an on-ramp to this technology for many parents in this community. We are pleased that the Jacobs Center has pledged its support for such an important project,” said Walter Kudumu, executive director of CPIE. “We are also hoping, in the future, to make this center and its resources available to other parents and children in the surrounding communities.”
– Internet Access
Is Also Available
The state-of-the-art center will house 15 computers, each with a suite of software programs and Internet access.
Programs for learning to use the computers and software will be both structured and open. An instructor from CPIE will hold workshops at the parent computer center, the participating school sites and at the Malcolm X Public Library.
The computers will also be available during several open access times each week so parents can learn and practice at their own pace. CPIE will staff the center with a computer assistant to help parents learn the system and software.
CPIE organizers are currently working to raise additional funds to support the center’s first year of operation. Their goal is to raise $28,000 through matching grants and other contributions. They are also in the process of identifying parent liaisons at each of the primary schools to use as points of contact or to train as computer instructors. Parents interested in serving in either of these roles are encouraged to contact CPIE.