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RCSD giving every high school student a computer with internet access

All City High School student Kelis Sang holds her new Chromebook near the school's steps.
James Brown WXXI
All City High School student Kelis Sang holds her new Chromebook near the school's steps.

The All City High School cafeteria was buzzing Thursday as students lined up to receive a Chromebook with free internet access. The computers were supplied by the Rochester City School District and the 1 Million Project, an organization that has helped thousands of students get internet access. They expect to give out about 9,000 Chromebooks to all of the district’s high school students.

One of those students is 18-year old Kelis Sang. Sang said she got depressed, fell behind in school, and almost dropped out two years ago. Now that she is at All City High, she’s been doing online courses at the public library and at school to catch up. She’s one of the 40 percent of city school students without home internet access. 

“It was just a bad time for me and I was just not doing right and then I found out about All City and he [All City Principal Armando Ramierz] let me in, willingly let me in,” Sang said. “I came in here with zero credits and now I got about 17 credits, on my way to being a senior, and I’m going to graduate on time.”. 

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Ramirez, said that stories like Sang’s are common at the school which specializes in non-traditional students who need flexible schedules, because they’re working full time, have kids or other responsibilities. He said that Chromebooks will make class work easier for his students. 

“Our slogan is where students come to finish where they started,” said Ramirez. “So for many of our students they’ve struggled with economic issues, social emotional issues, medical issues that may have set them back.”

Ramirez said that every kid learns at a different pace and has setbacks. He says that schools like All City and organizations like the 1 Million Project offer kids more options to learn. 

The district said that the students will be able to keep the Chromebooks during breaks but they have to turn them over when they graduate. They’re considering allowing the kids to buy the computers for a small fee. 

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.