ULM — Small school districts don’t usually have big budgets - but sometime they have caring benefactors with huge hearts. That was evident in Ulm recently where one couple helped the district meet the challenges of Covid-19 head on.
Barb Byrne has been getting a lot of well deserved hugs from Ulm School first and second graders lately. Recently, she and her husband donated 25 brand new Chromebooks to the school.
“It was like Christmas right after Christmas,” said Russ McDaniel, Ulm School Principal. The computers were ordered back in October, but due to delays in the supply chain, weren’t delivered until last Friday.
Even though it took awhile, the Chromebooks fill a major academic need.
“The technology is there where we can zoom at home if we go into a situation where COVID sends all of our kids home,” said McDaniel. “We can zoom with them, we can work with them online, with Google meets.”
“For teachers it’s just such a pleasure and a luxury because you’re really able to differentiate your instruction,” said Alethea Brown, Ulm School 2nd grade teacher.
The Chromebooks are already being put to good use by students like Liam McKamey, who’s sharpening his math skills on programs I-Excel and Spelling City. “You can do like money and measurement,” said McKamey.
For second-grade student Tenyson Coates, the computers came with a sense of surprise. “I actually thought it was a prank at first, until I walked in and saw a stack of Chromebooks and thought, ‘What?’” said Coates.
McDaniel says the school is working with the Byrnes on a rotation of the computers to be updated as needed so the kids can have Chromebooks through high school.
“So you figure the computers are good for about four years and then the technology kind of moves ahead so you kind of need to keep up with that,” said McDaniel. “These students will get their new computers about fourth or fifth grade and as long as they’re in good standing and take care of their computers they’ll be able to take them with them when they go into high school.”
McDaniel says the more than $6,000 computer donation is just another indicator of how caring the community is.
“You know our motto here, I truly believe is, we do have enough smart people in the world, we just don’t have enough kind people,” said McDaniel.