/ Modified apr 3, 2020 5:03 p.m.

TUSD expedites laptop order to support at-home online learning

Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo also discusses his hopes the district can hold graduation ceremonies in May.

Southern Arizona’s largest school district is taking steps to bridge its digital divide as it plans out the remainder of the academic year. Tucson Unified School District Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo said the district is expediting an order of laptops for thousands of students.

“We approved a funding package through our governing board of $3.5 million to purchase and deploy Chromebook laptops to the 15,000 families right now that don’t have anything,” Trujillo said. “In the interim we do have a learn-from-home portal that probably half the district is able to get on and comfortably navigate.”

Trujillo also explained the grading policies the district is considering that would determine whether or not students graduate or advance to the next grade level. He said he hopes the district will let schools make those decisions based on grades posted during the third quarter.

“That’s when we went into spring break, and that’s when closure started,” Trujillo said. He also said the same plan would allow students to improve their grades if they continue to complete the work assigned online.

“Any work that students complete will be work that is eligible to improve a student’s grade. Not necessarily harm it,” Trujillo said. “It’s that incentive to motivate that high school freshman that already has a C in all of his or her classes – get online and make that C a B.”

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