Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Digitial Equity Data

Memo Information

Memo Number
RT-22-002
Memo Date
8/24/2021
Memo Type
Informational
Unit
Research & Technology
Regulatory Authority
Response Required
NO
Attention
Federal Programs; Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; Technology Coordinators; General Business Managers; School Counselors; Data Stewards (SIS; eSchool; eFinance; TRIAND)

Primary Contact Information

Secondary Contact/s Information

Memo Reference

No references available.

Memo Text

For the 2021-2022 school year, ADE-Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has added Digital Equity Elements to the Statewide Information System (SIS) data collection manual in cooperation with the Home Digital Access Data Collection guidance created by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO):

https://ccsso.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/7.22.20_CCSSO%20Home%20Digital%20Access%20Data%20Collection%20Blueprint%20for%20State%20Leaders.pdf

The ADE-DESE adopted the CCSSO data elements to help determine where needs exist within schools and communities in our state and federally.  This information will also assist in the development of state broadband initiatives. The data elements for digital equity can be found in the 2021-22 SIS manual on page 130.  Having this information will also provide data that will be reported to the U S Department of Education and will appear on the school report card.  SIS Handbook: https://adecm.ade.arkansas.gov/Attachments/SIS_Handbook_2021-2022_115456.pdf

What is Digital equity?  Digital equity is a component of the digital divide that must be addressed to enable students to have equitable access to devices and connectivity in order to participate in learning opportunities on and off campus throughout the school year.

LEAs and SEAs need to move from understanding the estimated percentage of students who do not have adequate home digital access to understanding specifically which students do not have access, in order to connect those students to consistent, high-speed Internet. 

Knowing which students lack home Internet access and/or a dedicated learning device enables LEA's to:

  • Understand the impact that lack of home digital access has on learning outcomes
  • Identify and call out the digital access gap as an educational equity issue
  • Target resources to students in need of digital access
  • Determine the most effective Internet connectivity solutions, making sure to engage with local community and business leadership for input and implementation of solutions
  • Gain leverage when seeking funding to help close the gaps 

This information will enable SEA’s to:

  • Understand the impact that lack of home digital access has on learning outcomes
  • Advocate to state and federal government for funding to close the digital access gap
  • Direct state resources, including funding, to LEAs
  • Share guidance with LEAs on how to use state and federal funding, including CARES Act funding, to support home Internet connectivity projects
  • Engage local Internet Service Providers to develop and implement effective, replicable solutions (e.g., assisting LEAs with aggregated procurement strategies)
  • Facilitate data sharing, with appropriate security safeguards, for organizations that can help to implement digital access gap solutions

It is at the school district's discretion on how this data is collected via digital or hard copy surveys and/or questionnaires.  The information shall be collected and entered into eSchoolPLUS student management system all through the school year, 2021-22 and will be pulled in SIS Cycle 2 through Cycle 7.  The final reporting collection date/cycle of this information will be submitted in SIS Cycle 7 -- June 15, 2022.

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