How are you? My name is Steve Smith and I started working for Lake International Middle School in Denver CO in the Fall of 2016. In addition to providing technology services for the school, I also work with small groups of students and teach them how to fix computers, i.e. replace screens, batteries, motherboards etc. In fact, my students have taught school tech personnel from across Denver Public Schools (DPS) how to perform basic repairs.  

After setting up my little program, I then started wondering how DPS “retired” older computers, and found out that 5,000 DPS computers were being donated to Goodwill each year. So I thought maybe we could create our own refurbishing program and provide computers to DPS students. Fortunately, DPS has an innovation lab called The Imaginarium, which each year hold a Design Challenge where entities can apply for $10,000 education grants. Out of 42 applicants I am one of 11 finalists and will find out tonight – 05/25/17 – if I win.

With the grant, I will be buying an enterprise license of Killdisk ($3825) that will allow personnel throughout DPS to wipe old computer hard drives clean and then install Linux of these older machines that can then be given to students. Given these are older machines, not all of them will allow access to the hard drive using Killdisk and the hard drives in these machines should be destroyed using a degausser ($2100) that magnetically destroys the hard drive.  Finally, with the remaining $4075, I am proposing that DPS pay half ($60) of the $120 yearly internet cost for low-income families for 68 students, with families paying the other $60. Overtime I would like to expand this to include online mentors that would be willing to pay half of a family’s cost every year and also serve as mentor to students.   

Regardless if I win the grant, I have decided to set up this site as a means of economically providing computers to low-income students and hopefully create online mentoring program over time. Take a look around the site and let me know if you have any questions or would like to help out.