A new program through the West Virginia Department of Education is taking state government issued computers and turning them into training tools for students of all ages.
The WVDE introduced the program Friday called Second Launch WV, a partnership with the West Virginia Office of Technology.
Second Launch takes computers that are being cycled out of use at state agencies, like the Department of Corrections or Division of Highways, cleans out their databases and places the refurbished desktops in classrooms across the state.
“Computers that once sat in other offices, we’re now taking those computers and refurbishing them in a way where [we can] have them in our schools for usage,” State Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano said at the launch event in Belle Friday.
Martirano was joined by Gayle Given, director of the state Office of Technology, and Sterling Beane, director of the state Department of Education Office of Technology, at Country Kids Day Care in Belle where a group of four and five-year-olds showed off the programs they have access to thanks to the new technology.
Students navigated through games that teach shapes, colors, letters and numbers in small groups.
“This cannot be about the haves and the have nots,” Martirano said. “It cannot be about It cannot be about young people in certain zip codes having access and other young people who live in other zip codes not having access.”
“For me, it’s about doing the right thing for young people to ensure that they have the tools to advance.”
So far, more than 3,000 computers have been returned to classrooms in 30 counties, saving the state $965,000 in just a few months. The program’s goal is a savings of $5 million in five years.