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School plugs into new computers

SUQUAMISH — Last year, some of the computers at Suquamish Elementary School were older than the children using them.

That is no longer the case. Because of a corporate partnership forged through a personal connection with Raytheon Corp., the school recently received 20 computers from the Massachusetts-based defense contractor.

When fifth-grade teacher Erik deVeer’s wife mentioned her employer, Raytheon in Poulsbo, had a corporate sponsorship program, he made the link between the school’s demand and the company’s supply.

The need for new computers at the school was evident because the school’s older computers wouldn’t run the newer education software or the software teachers are required to use for grading.

While the North Kitsap School District is upgrading computers on a revolving basis, the ever-changing world of technology makes it virtually impossible for schools to stay current, deVeer said.

The school last received new computers 10 years ago during a district upgrade.

“The computers were so slow they weren’t of any functional use to the students or teachers,” deVeer said. “Now we’re able to do things in the computer lab we weren’t able to do before.”

The computers were stripped of their operating systems before the donation.

Librarian Jan Jackson said the new computers are a great benefit to the school.

“It’s hard to keep up with the change,” she said. “We had a lot of computers that were really old. Most of the computers were older than our oldest kids.”

The donation sparked a technology survey on the campus, and the computers were used to fill the most urgent needs, said Principal Joe Davalos.

After the computers were donated in the spring, they quickly found homes on teacher’s desks and in the school’s computer lab.

“We did a big building survey for technology needs. We were lucky enough that we put some money away for use in the future. The donation gave us a jump start,” Davalos said.

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