The COVID-19 pandemic prompted educators to suddenly face challenges that quite honestly, seemed insurmountable.

“Last spring, we had every student in the state in a virtual environment and it became painfully clear that the school districts and the state weren’t prepared to deliver education in that environment,” Board member Kurt Liebich recently recalled.  “We have a little over 300,000 kids attending public schools and an informal survey we sent out to districts and charters last spring suggested we were short about 180,000 devices between students and teachers.”

Liebich took the lead on behalf of the Board, working with Greg Wilson, Governor Brad Little’s education policy advisor, to pull together a committee of educators, district technology officers and private sector partners to develop strategies to close the “digital divide” – between students who have access to devices and internet connectivity, and those who do not.

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