By Eric Cramer, Public Affairs Officer, USAG-Rock Island Arsenal Public AffairsApril 15, 2014
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, ILL -- (April 15, 2014) Students at a Davenport school will have better access to computers thanks to their school's participation in the Army's Computers for Learning program at Rock Island Arsenal.
When Soldiers arrived at All Saints Catholic School with the donated computers they were met by students and staff. They lined the hallway, waving American flags and thanking the Soldiers for helping them.
A total of 79 computers were donated as part of the program according to Arsenal officials. The Computers for Learning program has helped many schools and non-profit organizations obtain newer computer technology at no cost.
Members of the Rock Island Arsenal Sgt. Audie Murphy Club helped load and unload the computers to be taken to the All Saints School. The club is the local chapter of an Army wide organization of enlisted and non-commissioned officer which commemorates the memory of the Army's most highly decorated Soldier via participation in community events and leadership programs.
Lorna McDaniel-Wilson, school liaison officer for Rock Island Arsenal, stated that due to security protection, Department of Defense computers must to be updated frequently. The Computers for Learning program allows useful computer technology to be donated to schools and non-profit organizations.
"I was so glad to make this connection," she said. "This is truly a win/win situation. Schools and non-profits are benefitting from equipment the DoD can no longer use. All parties are being fiscally responsible, which will in the end safe the taxpayers' money."
"When I learned about, I began contacting local schools right away," said McDaniel-Wilson, whose job involves helping military families transition into area schools. "Any organization who wants to take advantage of the program can contact me, and I will send them a PowerPoint slide deck that walks them through the entire process."
David Sowells, technology director for the pre-school through eighth-grade All Saints, said the he learned about the Computers for Learning program via a series of older emails by his predecessor.
"We need them in the classroom. There isn't a day that goes by that our students don't use computers," Sowells said. "Instead of computer labs, our goal is to have eight functional computers in every classroom, so one third of our students can be on the computer at any one time."
Sowells said the former military computers will be used for word processing, access to the Internet, and a new mathematics program that has an online component.
"This wouldn't be possible for us without these computers," Sowells said. "Right now, these towers are running about $800 apiece, and our school simply wouldn't have the budget to buy them."
It takes a certain amount of effort to make computers ready to leave the military environment, according to Craig Shields, director of the Logistics Readiness Center at Rock Island Arsenal. He said his directorate, along with its other missions, maintains the "property book" or inventory of items used by Rock Island Arsenal.
"The Defense Logistics Agency has the (Computers for Learning) program," Shields said. "We're the entry point for it." He said the computers local users, also called hand-receipt holders, turn over their old computers when they are replaced.
"The computers have to receive a code of serviceability, meaning they can be used. The hard drives have to be 'wiped,'" Shields said.
McDaniel-Wilson can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (309) 782-6515.
The video story on Rock Island Arsenal the Computers for Learning program can be found at http://youtu.be/gerrwNJnTR0.