August 20, 2020
ORADELL, NJ—The International WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region (WeLoveU) officially launches a new educational program, “Closing the Homework Gap: Bridging the Digital Divide for Students and Families,” at its self-titled webinar. WeLoveU’s program is a direct response to the pressing technology crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, WeLoveU will be focusing on Essex County public schools. Studies show that Essex County students, families and teachers feel the effects of the digital divide more than other counties in the Garden State. Dr. April Vauss, Superintendent of Irvington Public Schools, and Roger León, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools, participated in the webinar, sharing how the transition to remote learning has impacted students and what’s needed to support them this school year.
Dr. Vauss shared, “It is not good enough for most or many of our students to have equal access to the digital tools to have a quality educational experience through instructional delivery. We must ensure that all our students have access. This will further our goal in building our community, one student at a time.”
Superintendent León added, “All of our students must have equitable access to technology that allows them to engage in rigorous discourse with their teachers and peers. This type of instruction and classroom dialogue is essential for our students to maintain their competitive edge in the world. The digital divide is not a technology issue, but rather one of equity and democracy.”
“In bridging the digital divide, we are not just simply investing our time and efforts in the students’ 2020–2021 academic year but rather the academic future for them, their families and our communities,” said John Casas, WeLoveU’s vice president of community engagement.
An estimated 230,000 students in New Jersey’s public schools are challenged with a learning curve that is out of their control: the homework gap — the inability to learn, complete assignments and do homework due to limited access to technology. In an effort to facilitate distance learning, the WeLoveU Foundation will be donating Chromebooks to school districts unable to provide all students with these essential resources.
The Intl. WeLoveU Foundation has made a firm commitment to improve the quality of life through six initiatives: Blood Drives, Education, Emergency Relief, Environmental Protection, International Aid and Social Welfare. Its core values revolve around promoting unity and friendship among all people of the global village — beyond nationality, race, religion and socioeconomic status — through impactful volunteerism carried out with the heart of a mother.
About the International WeLoveU Foundation
The International WeLoveU Foundation is an NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications. Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah founded WeLoveU as a vehicle to promote unity and friendship among all people of the global village — beyond nationality, race, religion, and socioeconomic status — through impactful volunteerism within the initiatives of blood drives, education, emergency relief, environmental protection, international aid and social welfare. WeLoveU has received more than 100 honorary and presidential awards from various countries and governments including the U.S. President’s Call to Service Award for volunteerism and the Green Apple Award for best environmental practice. Today WeLoveU is located in more than 60 countries around the world. For more information, visit weloveuusa.org.
About the Newark Public Schools District
The Newark Public Schools District, with 66 schools, 5,877 employees and a student population of 37,291 is the largest and one of the oldest school systems in New Jersey. Its origin dates back to 1676. Barringer High School, in Newark’s North Ward, is the third oldest public high school in the nation. The ethnic diversity of the city provides a rich educational experience for pre-kindergarten to secondary school students. The district continues to revise its services to meet the changing needs of students.