When the realities of the coronavirus began to force the closure of schools, educators throughout the country scrambled with how to respond and keep kids learning. Jen Davis Wickens, CEO of Impact Public Schools in Tukwila, knew she had to do something and fast. Seventy percent of her students are low income, making a computer just for school unlikely.
"All children deserve and have a right to a high-quality education, even during a time when we can't be in the school building," Wickens emphasized.
Before her last day of school, she started a GoFundMe with the hope of raising enough funds to buy every child a Chromebook, access to the internet, and food if needed. It only took four days, and through GoFundMe she raised more than $20,000, enough to purchase more than 200 computers and other supplies.
Yadira Lemus Diaz has a kindergartner at Impact.
"I was blown away seeing all these people donate," Lemus Diaz said. "I was like, 'Wow, people really care about kids.'"
GoFundMe named Davis Wickens one of its heroes of the month - a title she's not comfortable holding.
"I was immediately wanting to honor all the people involved. It's truly a team effort. The hero is our whole community," said Davis Wickens.
But parents at the school can't help but sing the praises of Davis Wickens and the staff at Impact Schools. They say on the last day of school, the kids received a 150-page packet with details on the plan for distance learning. It included school work, a schedule, and a checklist for parents.
"It was so awesome!" said Lemus Diaz.
In addition to the new technology, Impact is doing live classes and the teachers are posting read-alongs online for anyone who wants to participate.
The mission of Impact Public Schools involves closing the opportunity gap and ensuring all children have access to a high-quality education.