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Empowered Learners Initiative (ELi)

ELi Logo

The Empowered Learners Initiative (ELi) is a comprehensive three-year commitment, endorsed by Mayor Bowser in the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget, to close the digital divide and empower every learner through technology. Over the next three years, DCPS will ensure students in grades 3-12 have equitable access to technology through a 1:1 student-to-device ratio, and that DCPS educators are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to support students in leveraging technology for learning.

DCPS students will receive the Microsoft Surface Go, which was selected for its agility, durability, and long-battery life. The Surface Go is a laptop-tablet hybrid that also features a world-facing camera for video and photography and an inking stylus for drawing and writing. More than 16,400 devices are going to schools in year 1 of ELi. Learn more about this device[PDF].

In spring 2020, every student in grades 3, 6, and 9 will receive a Surface Go device to use at school, and students in all other grades will have a 3:1 student-to-device ratio in the classroom. Initial delivery to schools will take place throughout March 2020, and principals will be in touch with their school community about the rollout for students. In the coming school years, the distribution plan will add on grades 4, 7, and 10 and then grades 5, 8, 11, and 12. All other grades will have access to one device for every three students.

ELi and the Classroom Experience

This initiative represents DCPS’ holistic approach to technology and learning. As devices are deployed, teachers and school leaders are receiving aligned resources including professional development to support technology integration in learning, curricular and teaching resources, and technology and logistical support.

The complementary Empowered Learners Framework will help teachers integrate technology in the classroom in a way that enhances proven instructional models that are part of DCPS’ rigorous curriculum. Every student will have access to DCPS’ equitable digital tools such as Office 365 and SMART Learning Suite that will move with them over the years of the initiative. Staff and students can login here to access these tools.

ELi is also about our students becoming informed and engaged digital citizens. Toward this goal, students receive digital citizenship lessons, published by Common Sense Media, that teach them to make safe and responsible decisions online.

3-Year Technology Integration Roadmap

ELi is a multi-million-dollar investment that will take place over the next three years. Follow the link to read our detailed plan to infuse 21st-century technology inside and outside the classroom: The Empowered Learners Initiative: 3-Year Technology Integration Roadmap[PDF]

This initiative was informed by conversations with students, families, educators, and communities about the need for technology in their schools. DCPS will continue to shape our plan and refine implementation strategies with the support of our stakeholders, supported by the launch of an ELi technology advisory group that will be comprised of a diverse set of stakeholders from all eight wards. To get involved with the forthcoming technology advisory group, please fill out the application here.

For more information on Eli, please contacts us at [email protected].