Last Updated on February 26, 2022 by Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Kingston’s La Salle Intermediate and Secondary School has been chosen as one of 23 Canadian school recipients to receive $10,000 worth of tech-based improvements.
The money comes from the Best Buy School Tech Grant Program, operating since 2008, with Best Buy currently partnering with Samsung and Google to expand the list of grant recipients.
Schools submit applications with an overall plan for the grant money which is then evaluated by the team of judicators at Best Buy, and this year over 750 applications were received.
There are a variety of different projects being funded this year, some more broadly seeking laptops and other equipment and other more specific initiatives like a school in Chilliwack, B.C receiving tablets to use reading programs aimed at helping preserve their native language.
After one previous unsuccessful application before COVID, La Salle put forth a submission this year that will see Best Buy helping to outfit the school’s science and math department with Chromebooks.
Best Buy Canada’s Social Impact Manager Karen Arsenault says the program is aimed to improve the future through technology and to decrease the “digital divide”.
“Part of our culture within our organization is to give back to our communities,” Arsenault said.
“It’s something that we want to do to give back and provide more technology so students have the same access and sort of have a level playing field when it comes to accessing that technology.”
Manjit Singh-Graham, the science department head at La Salle and the grant writer for this program, said getting closer to levelling the playing field for students is a huge bonus of the program.
She says the lack of funding available for equipment in schools limits what real world experience kids in high school classes can really get.
“My university level kids who are in my physics class, they’re going to go off to universities that are going to have access to all the sensors,” Singh-Graham said.
“And then in high school, we have things from when I was in high school that are still here.”
The Chromebooks will be available for use to students headed for the college route as well, and will help provide increased technical capabilities for any students in science and math classes at the school.
Singh-Graham said the school was able to find a good deal with Best Buy and included some additional funding in order to acquire two full classroom sets of Chromebooks through the grant.
Previously only having one computer lab, Singh-Graham says adding two full sets will help to give students in a variety of different STEM classes at La Salle improved and more modernized learning experiences.
The school doesn’t have a date in place for when the new equipment will be available for student use, but expect it to be relatively soon.