Delivering hope, opportunity, and promise to the doors of students in Buffalo, New York, Levon Green, behavioral specialist at Buffalo United Charter School, has kept busy during the coronavirus pandemic by hand-delivering educational technology to families in his school community.
It has been a feat of love, as Green began his journey delivering Chromebooks to over 50 families at Buffalo United. This vital piece of equipment has provided students access to remote learning and the chance to connect virtually with their teachers and fellow classmates. This endeavor took off with humble beginnings and has grown from there.
“Once the shutdown started, I took ten Chromebooks home with me with the permission of Mrs. Gerchman, and I intended to simply meet and give those few Chromebooks out to families in need,” said Green. “Little did we know the number of families would grow beyond that point.”
Green shared that once he began making the deliveries, additional requests began coming in and he was happy to oblige. “In coordination with Bryan Green, our facilities manager, I made more and more trips to the school to meet with families in the vestibule as they collected the lunches provided by the school, and in many cases, I would drive to the families’ homes and drop off the Chromebooks.”
Teresa Gerchman, principal of Buffalo United Charter Academy, shared that though the transition to remote learning was quick and unexpected, the school focused on the Moral Focus virtue of the month, compassion, to connect with every family.
“Each week we make sure to contact each family,” she said. “Each student has one person from the school who is assigned this task. The first question we ask is ‘how is your family doing this week?’, or ‘do you need anything?’,” she shared. “We then get to talking about academics. If a parent is stressed about academics, we tell them to not stress and to breathe and let them know it is fine. We are telling them the health of their family is most important.”
To ease the transition further, Green provided socially distanced, on-site IT support to families who needed assistance getting set up. He worked to assist families in setting up networks and ensuring the applications and programs that students need were up and running. “I started this because of my love for technology and my dream to have a strong impact on the world through technology,” he said. “This felt like the perfect time for me to step up and make a difference in any way I can.”
Working with technology is nothing new to Green, as he has been working alongside Dr. Wilson, Buffalo United’s library technician, since joining the school. His background in setting up Chromebooks at the school and troubleshooting issues in the classrooms has translated to a critical skill during these unusual times.
“When the pandemic started I saw teachers doing everything they could to set up weeks of online work for these students and I felt I had to take action by using everything I've learned to make sure the students were equipped to stay on task,” he said.
Green expressed his gratitude for other staff members at Buffalo United, and that without the hard work of the deans and teachers, the situation would look drastically different. “I am just a part of what has been a truly beautiful collective effort by teachers, admin, and school staff,” said Green. “I simply saw it as anything I could do to make these times simpler and more normalized for these students.”
Over the past several weeks, through these collective efforts, hundreds of laptops have been given out, and Green continues taking requests from families.
“The families are extremely grateful,” Green said. “They know that as schools continue to stay closed, their scholars need instruction, and being able to use the Chromebooks to stay connected gives them hope about going into next year.”