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Program Aims to get Computers to Students

by Owens Pharis last modified 2008-04-22 15:46

By Sara Schilling, Tricity Herald, Washington----Judith Ramirez used to do her homework on computers at the library.She had to wait in line and often felt rushed as she researched on the Internet and typed up her essays. Things have changed, though, since she got a computer of her own through a program aimed at building interest in math and science among underrepresented middle-school students.

Judith, 13, is an eighth-grader at McLoughlin Middle School in Pasco. She got the refurbished computer in January through TechREACH, which has after-school clubs in Pasco, Sunnyside, Granger and on the west side of Washington.

About 20 Pasco families received computers through the program. Training sessions were planned Monday and todayto show parents how to use e-mail, surf the Web and use Pasco School District's home page to access student grades and other information.

Jessica Valladares, 14, and her mom, Petra, sat next to them. Jessica is in the eighth grade at Ellen Ochoa Middle School and participates in a TechREACH club. The clubs are run by teachers at the schools.

"It's going to help her with homework and other things," said her mom, speaking in Spanish with Jessica interpreting.

The program offered the computers as an incentive to students in the clubs who returned for a second year.

Research shows that women and minorities are underrepresented in the math and science fields, said Karen Manuel, TechREACH director.

Low-income families and Latinos and blacks across income lines have less access to the Internet, according to information provided by the group.

TechREACH is a program of the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology in Bothell. The group works with the Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program in the Mid-Columbia.

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