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Columbus City Council, Councilmember Emmanuel Remy Grant CARES Act Funds to Columbus City Schools

November 17, 2020 -- As part of its continued support of CCS students, Columbus City Council unanimously approved a measure to spend $200,000 on iPads for students with complex needs. Funding for the 233 iPads will come from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.

Columbus Schools Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon attended last night’s City Council meeting virtually to talk about why these iPads are needed. You can watch her appearance at the meeting above.

“This technology purchase for our students with complex needs allows us to provide better teaching, learning, and equitable education for them,” said Dr. Dixon. “The students will use these iPads with impact-resistant cases for remote learning from home, which will continue through the end of our first semester in January.”

Earlier this year, Columbus City Council provided more than $7 million in CARES Act funding to CCS to help purchase Chromebooks so that every student had a device for remote learning for the start of the new school year. However, the operating systems of Chromebooks do not support the teaching and learning needs of students with complex needs, particularly in the remote learning setting during the ongoing pandemic. This ordinance sponsored by Councilmember Emmanuel Remy helps address this challenge facing complex needs students and their teachers.  

The iPad Pros can support students with disabilities in the following ways:

  • Assist with improved communication between teachers and students;
  • Provide Screen readers for students with visual impairments;
  • Provide the use of more built-in applications to improve remote learning;
  • Enhance social skills since iPads can create class videos using computer applications.

“We have 197 classrooms with students that have complex needs,” said Dr. Dixon. “We have learned that the Chromebooks do not allow for the type of programming that both our teachers need to effectively teach remotely and for our students to learn remotely.”

The purchase of these iPads will also be used when the District returns to hybrid learning. Complex needs students will be able to bring these iPads with them to the classroom and use them with their teachers and teaching assistants.

“233 iPads may not seem like a lot for a school district the size of Columbus, but the impact these laptops will have on the lives of these students and the teachers and staff is immeasurable,” said Dr. Dixon. “It will make a tremendous difference in remote learning for our complex needs students.”