Closing Technology Gaps: Team King School (led by Charlene Ashley, Randee-Jo Barcinas-Manglona)

Introduction to King School

King Elementary School serves 351 students ranging from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade that come from a culturally enriched community in the heart of central Portland. 44.7% of the students at King Elementary School identify as African-American, whereas a typical school in Portland is made up of 9.0% African-American students. Additionally, 80.9% of the students receive free lunch and 7.7% receive reduced lunch. Compared to 40.3% free lunch and 5.5% reduced lunch that other Portland public schools serve. To be eligible for free lunch your family income must be under $15,171.

Background Information About Our Community Project

Our project was centered around fundraising for Mrs. McCarthy’s fourth grade classroom in order to provide her with the necessary materials students need to have proper access to their overall learning. Our goal was to raise enough money to purchase eight ChromeBooks to complete her classroom set. The additional eight would provide students with the opportunity to participate using their own ChromeBook during class activities. Currently, Mrs. McCarthy is only able to facilitate ChromeBook activities during times when students can borrow from other classes. She would like to provide her students with equal access to technology each day in the classroom.

The Importance of Technology in the Classroom

Technology is a fundamental component that has been integrated into classrooms around the United States. Classrooms that have been afforded technology have been able to incorporate a diverse learning experience for their students. All students should have access to computers in school in order to learn fundamental skills. With this shift in technology, there is a world of valuable learning activities available using computers. When given the opportunity, students are much more interested in submitting their papers formally through typing over the traditional handwritten option. With technology such as ChromeBooks, students are able to create presentations with amazing graphics instead of using glue and scissors to create a poster. Additionally, they are able to practice their Math skills online rather than doing worksheets. Technology has become an integral tool for children to be able to engage in group reading activities, read independently, foster a love for reading, writing, creative writing, and typing skills, gain early editing and grammatical skills, and the list of benefits goes on.

Fundraising Efforts Throughout Spring Term 2017

Our team started out by using three different strategies: going out into local businesses and spreading the word about our project, sharing our project and link on our social media accounts, and researching and applying to scholarships/grants that may potentially fund our project. After trying out all options, we realized that going out into the community to local businesses proved to be the most beneficial. Team members took the time to walk into businesses in the King school area, reach out to managers and owners, and talk to them about the school’s needs – specifically our project on supplying ChromeBooks to Mrs. McCarthy’s fourth grade classroom. Additionally, team members also posted up flyers both around and outside the school’s neighborhood area to inform more people about our cause. Lastly, we ended the term with our huge and final fundraiser: Jamba Juice Fundraiser Cards. Project managers contacted Jamba Juice, signed a contract, and got a hold of cards for each team member to sell. Each card costs $10.00, and $5.00 out of the $10.00 per card went towards our project. Due to extended our project a week longer in efforts to sell all the cards we received our team does not have the total dollar amount we have raised for Mrs. McCarthy. However, before the final final fundraiser we had raised a total of $461 with potential to double that amount if all Jamba Juice cards are sold. We hope that the next team who takes on this project will work their hardest to fulfill her overall goal!


Project Managers:

Charlene Ashley:

Randee-Jo Barcinas-Manglona:

Team Members:

Ana Vargas:

Caitlin German:

Gwen Partlow:

Kathryn Simmonds:


3 thoughts on “Closing Technology Gaps: Team King School (led by Charlene Ashley, Randee-Jo Barcinas-Manglona)

  1. I am now 20 years removed from my time in the 4th grade. I hadn’t considered children having access to technology in the classroom at that age, because I didn’t have anything of the sort during that time. It took me a few minutes to really take in the magnitude of what having Chromebooks in the classroom might mean to a fourth grader in 2017. While I think that creating in a physical medium is important for child development, fostering technological academic capabilities is also important. For these students technology could be the door into a prosperous future.
    I didn’t realize how stark the socioeconomic challenges that face students and parents in the MLK school district were. The idea that at MLK twice as many students (80%) come from families that make less than $15,000 dollars a year is startling. In the Portland area, with high rent and utility costs, it is difficult to imagine getting by on this much money. A study conducted at Stanford University looked at the relationship between children’s educational achievement and variables like race, subject, parental educational achievement, socioeconomic status, and unemployment rates. In Oregon they found that there is nearly a 1:1 correlation between socioeconomic status and childhood educational achievement when all other variables are controlled for. This means that in Oregon what matters is socioeconomic status, the lower a student’s socioeconomic status the less likely they are to complete high school or go onto college. For the students at MLK at least 80% of them are at a huge educational disadvantage because of this. The way to fix this disadvantage by definition is by investing resources.
    Bringing Chromebooks into the classroom is one way to ensure that the students get to practice with technology in school. The more adept these student are at using technology the more prepared they will be for higher education and the job market. I found the fundraising done this term by this team inspiring. I hope the future teams are as resourceful and determined as this one and I hope that Mrs. McCarthy’s fourth grade classroom gets the resources that will help them succeed!

    The Center for Educational Policy Analysis. (n.d.). The Educational Opportunity Monitoring Project: Racial and Ethnic Achievement Gaps. Retrieved from

  2. Great Job you guys!! it was a great idea to share the cause on each of your social medias. you guys did a great job fundraises that $400! at the bringing I thought similar to Leanna, I didn’t think it was a necessity for these children to have chrome books rather a luxury. But technology is always advancing and our students should be up to date with everything. Knowing how to maneuver around different technology will get our students far in life.

    Those percentages that are compared from Portland public schools is startling. A 15,000 income is not enough for someone to get by living here in Portland. Students should be given free lunch regardless of parents income. there are students that at times don’t even get a lunch because their bank account is empty and their parents still aren’t able to pay and their income is well above 15,000. You guys did an awesome job this term, next terms group should have a good start because of you guys.

  3. Wow, awesome job you guys!!!!

    The statistics mentioned about King Elementary School really surprised me because of how different it was to my school experience. My elementary school hardly had any African-American students, and a middle school I attended in Lake Oswego only had two African-Americans (who were brothers) in the entire school.

    My group project also had to do with raising money for technology, and I think you laid out the importance and impact of equal access to technology really well. Technology is rapidly expanding and certain skills that were not necessary in the past are essential today. Practice with typing for instance, is really important in today’s day and age. Furthermore, like you guys mentioned, being able to make presentations and play around with graphic design can open up new doors for creativity and growth.

    I am really impressed with everything you group accomplished this term, and its amazing that you guys were able to raise so much money!! Our team primarily focused on applying for grants, but maybe we should have tried some of the other options you guys used. I think the fact that your team took the time to talk to people about the project in person and put up flyers was really effective. Furthermore, the Jamba Juice Fundraiser Cards was an amazing idea and clearly raised a lot of money! I am glad Jamba Juice agreed to get involved in such a great cause. Again, great job being creative and hopefully the next group can build off what you guys started 🙂

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