SU donates 30 laptops for Pinehurst students’ use

From left, Bob Langan, Wicomico County Public Schools Director of Technology; Kevin Smith, Pinehurst Elementary School Principal; Eli Modlin, SU Chief of Staff and Director of Government and Community Relations; Dr. Frederick Briggs, WCPS Assistant Superintendent for Instruction; and Lisa King, Pinehurst Elementary School Assistant Principal.

When the threat of Covid-19 forced Baltimore City Public Schools students to adapt to online learning, some in the Promoting Respect, Integrity, Discipline and Excellence program at Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School lacked the technological resources needed to continue connecting with their teachers. 

Maryland Delegate Talmadge Branch, a Salisbury University alumnus representing the city’s 45th Legislative District, knew exactly where to turn. 

Branch reached out to his Alma Mater on the Eastern Shore, asking SU to help children he hoped would become future Sea Gulls like himself.

The university not only agreed to contribute 30 SU-branded laptops for Hazelwood; it also was inspired to adopt a local school, donating 30 to Wicomico County’s Pinehurst Elementary School. 

“At Salisbury, providing high-quality education is the core of our mission,” said Jason Curtin, SU Vice President of University Advancement and External Affairs. “Our two largest geographic contributors of students are the Baltimore metro region and the Lower Eastern Shore. By investing in the futures of students there, odds are high that we are investing in the future of SU.” 

Pinehurst Elementary is a short walk away from the SU, and the two have long enjoyed a beneficial partnership in support of students. The school serves a diverse population of students and families, with two-thirds of its students qualifying for free and reduced-cost meals based on family size and income. 

With an increased reliance on technology during the ongoing coronavirus response, it will be incredibly valuable for the school to be able to place the donated laptops in the hands of Pinehurst Elementary’s young learners, Wicomico County Public Schools officials said. 

“This spring, our students have been learning at home, but whether they are studying in school or at the kitchen table, they need to have access to technology to fully engage in 21st century instruction,” said Superintendent Dr. Donna Hanlin.

“Over the past three months, our school system has worked hard to make technology available to students with little or no technology access at home,” she said. “Thanks to SU’s donation, 30 Pinehurst students and their families will now have the tools they need to build skills and access learning resources from around the world.” 

Pinehurst and SU students often have connected for activities at the elementary school and tours of the nearby campus, and all look forward to these activities continuing sometime in the future. In the meantime, “These laptops will provide yet another invaluable link for our students to pursue success in the classroom and progress on the pathway to college and career,” said Dr. Rick Briggs, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.  

University officials hope the partnership between the schools can continue through other contributions, such as school supplies and additional campus tours, and that similar alliances may be formed with other school districts throughout Maryland. 

“Many people see SU as a higher education institution, but we’re much more than that,” said SU President Charles Wight. “We’re a Maryland institution and a community institution, and we want every child in our state to succeed. Every young person deserves access to education, and I’m proud that the University was able to provide that for these students.”

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