By Elizabeth Adolphi, ASC Public AffairsJanuary 25, 2013
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. (Jan. 25, 2013) -- During this time of economic turnaround, demand continues for a federal government program that donates computers to America's schools. To help meet this demand, the Army Sustainment Command is doing its part to provide technology to America's schools.
In 1996, former President Bill Clinton signed an executive order mandating that the federal government donate excess and outdated computers to schools ranging from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and to non-profit organizations.
It's called the Department of Defense Computers for Learning Program, or CLP, and it focuses on four major developments in American education: making modern computer technology an integral part of every classroom; providing teachers with the professional development they need to use new technologies effectively; connecting classrooms to the National Information Infrastructure; and encouraging the creation of excellent educational software.
"This initiative has saved thousands of dollars for schools and allowed some schools to go paperless and put all their textbooks in electronic format saving even more dollars and getting new schools books in the hands of the children in these school districts at a more rapid pace," said Maj. Adisa Carter, Army Sustainment Command automation management officer.
"Commanding General (Brig. Gen.) John F. Wharton has signed a new policy mandating that all systems when turned in to reutilization must be given to the Computers for Learning Program if not reutilized by other federal organizations," said Carter. The policy was signed October of 2012.
Wharton has been serving as the commanding general for Army Sustainment Command since September 2012. He is also the senior mission commander of Rock Island Arsenal.
The major challenge with CLP is getting the word out to schools and organizations. To solve this, Carter is contacting schools and making them aware of the program and its positive impact.
Rock Island Arsenal jump-started the program in March 2009, when a memorandum was signed between the garrison command and Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office.
"We currently have more schools waiting for equipment than equipment to donate. Any school in the nation can draw systems from Rock Island if they are registered and willing to pay the shipping to their location. Schools from South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Illinois have all driven to Rock Island to pickup equipment," said Carter.
Beneficiaries from 2012 include: Jordan Catholic School, Rock Island, Ill.; Riverview Middle School, Barron, Wis.; and Carlton High School, Carlton, Minn.
"For a school of 400 students, we had 75 desktop computers in three different lab rooms and less than 40 mobile devices for student use. The computer drop has given our student much great access and mobility of using technology as a tool," said Monti Hallberg, Barron Area School District, district administrator.
Since December 2009, the school has received 280 laptops and 70 desktops. Each classroom has an additional eight computers.
"Our students have benefited greatly from the CLP grant. They now have information at their fingertips that is 100 times more information than the world's largest library," said Hallberg.
Carlton High School has received 120 desktops and 77 laptops since December 2009. Labs are equipped with 30 computers and each classroom has one computer.
"At the beginning of the school year district wide we had 88 lab computers and 64 computers in the classrooms and offices," said Beckie Connolly, Carlton High School assistant principal.
For schools who cannot afford new technology for children, the Computers for Learning Program provides major assistance.
"These computers are making a world of difference to our students and staff. They provide us with the hardware to connect with the internet, teach our classes, run our programs, and connect with our community. They are a big part of what we use to provide the education for our students and we are very thankful for the opportunity to receive them," said Connolly.
Local law enforcement agencies also have been a beneficiary to the program.
"During fiscal year 2012, the Law Enforcement Support Office program received approximately 678 computers, laptops, monitors, and printers," said Carter.
The police departments from East Moline, Ill.; Monmouth, Ill.; Somonauk, Ill.; Chicago; and Walkerton, Ind. have acquired equipment from Rock Island Arsenal.
For agencies on the Arsenal that wish to participate in the Computers for Learning Program, turn in guidance and supporting memorandum can be found at http://www.dispositionservices.dla.mil/turn-in/usable/cpu-turn-in-guide.pdf and at http://iase.disa.mil/policy-guidance/asd_hd_disposition_memo060401.pdf, or by calling (309) 782-2202.
Schools and organizations that qualify for the program may fill out an online request at the DRMO website at https://www.dispositionservices.dla.mil/rtd03/cfl/index.shtml.