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District : Middletown City School District

State : Ohio

Level : P-12

Related Tags : Digital Equity

Digital Equity Champions for All Learners: How Middletown City School District Develops Partnerships to Support Students and Staff

Marlon Styles, Jr. serves as the superintendent of Middletown City School District in Ohio. As superintendent, he has advocated for equitable access to reliable, high-speed internet and devices for all students and has been recognized for his leadership in leveraging technology to improve education.

During the pandemic, Styles and his team worked with local internet service providers to identify households with school-aged children that did not have internet service. They found cell tower coverage was not reaching a portion of their community in urban environments. They received a broadband connectivity grant from the state to install an antenna and broadcast broadband.

Styles attended the U.S. Department of Education’s National Digital Equity Summit in September 2022. In a video interview, Styles explained, “Middletown City school district has made the commitment to make sure our students have access to the resources and materials they need to be successful, in the manners in which they need it, at the times they need it.”

We asked, “How are you and your organization working across sectors to advance digital equity for learners, families, and communities?”

“We are working with our community, as well as our stakeholders across the entire city of Middletown, to establish partnerships to make sure our resources are available,” Styles said. “This includes working with our parents, our families, our philanthropic organizations, as well as our state government department to make sure we’re exploring funding mechanisms to provide our students with the resources they need.”

Styles also noted that his school district leverages partnerships to provide staff with meaningful professional learning opportunities to integrate effective technology use into teaching and learning.

We also asked, “How will you continue building on this commitment to digital equity?”

Styles responded, “First step, working with our state officials at our Department of Education and make sure our state’s digital equity plan is really centered on the children and the families and that communities across the state to make sure their voices are heard, to inspire the actions [and] the plans of our state department to address the digital divide.”

In addition, Styles emphasized the need to continue to develop and support educators’ digital skills to best serve the needs of students.