Wynndalco Enterprises helps offset tech shortage in West Chicago
Joining forces on Oct. 29 to provide 25 additional Dell Latitude Pentium laptops to students who need them most, Mokena-based Wynndalco Enterprises was eager to partner with West Chicago's Leman Middle School.
West Chicago Elementary District 33 has been hit especially hard by COVID, e-learning, and historic state funding challenges, so this donation comes at a critical time.
"West Chicago is the most underfunded school district in DuPage County, so it's been great to work with places like Choose DuPage, the County, and Wynndalco to meet this area of need with regard to necessary technology," says Karina Villa, state Representative for the 49th District.
As a whole, the school district has approximately 1,900 students who are classified as English learners/Emergent Bilinguals in their K-8 schools amid a diverse population overall, making technology not a luxury but a necessity.
So when COVID-19 hit in March, many schools just like Leman were scrambling to transition to distance learning and access the necessary amount of portable technology.
"The district currently offers a 1:1, student-to-tech ratio, but that wasn't the case earlier this year," explains Dave Venchus, tech director for District 33. "We're there now, but also have a number of older devices, and things are always needing to be tuned up or repaired. These 25 extra laptops definitely will be put to good use."
Adds Kristina Davis, District 33 Superintendent, transitioning to a fully functioning distance learning model has been an eight-month struggle.
"Like so many schools, initially we weren't quite ready to go remote so we had to move quickly -- but unfortunately there was also a tech shortage happening at the same time," Davis said. "So devices were the first hurdle, but additionally we also needed to focus on spanning the internet divide, which impacts a lot of our local families. They don't always have access at home."
For Wynndalco founder and CEO David Andalcio, this is where his company shines.
A managed services IT firm primarily serving education, transportation, and business entities, Wynndalco is well-versed in the multiple layers needed to equip local students and their families.
With extensive experience with the E-Rate program (low-cost internet connectivity for schools and libraries) and years of serving public school districts in the US and abroad, Andalcio and his team have a soft spot for equal access to education.
"One of our great passions is to level the playing field for education through the use of technology. We believe every child should have the same opportunities to learn and succeed," Andalcio says. "We're thrilled to be able to provide the necessary equipment to give these local schools a little extra breathing room during a remarkable time."