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September 4, 2020
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



State Library and State Education Department Announce Series of Webinars Focused on Digital Equity

The New York State Library and State Education Department, in partnership with the METRO Library Council and the Northern New York Library Network, today announced a series of webinars on Digital Equity beginning September 10. Intended for educators, librarians, and other stakeholders with an interest in bringing about digital equity, this webinar series attempts to establish a shared understanding of the challenges to digital equity to begin to develop a shared vision of how we can work together to achieve digital equity for all New Yorkers.

“Our school systems adapted rapidly to provide for continuity of learning and have been preparing all summer to safely educate students this fall,” said Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown. Now we will build on those efforts and providing this webinar series so the education community can collectively work toward eliminating gaps in the availability of devices and the internet for all students in New York.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the inequities that run throughout our education system,” said Interim Commissioner Betty A. Rosa.  “The ‘digital divide’ is real, and it is devastating. Students simply cannot participate in remote learning if they don’t have access to a computer and to the internet, which is why these discussions are critically important right now.”

Digital equity is the concept that every New Yorker has access to affordable broadband, adequate devices, necessary software, digital literacy skills, and a community of support. Persistent digital divides exist in communities -- urban, suburban, and rural -- across New York. In fact, according to a report by Common Sense Media, more than 25 percent of students in New York lack access to the Internet and/or appropriate devices to participate in remote online education. The challenges to student connectivity can’t be considered in isolation, since they are part of larger systemic inequities disproportionately affecting people of color and people with lower incomes. 

The Board of Regents and the Department are working to bridge the digital divide through the development of various programs and resources including the Teaching in Blended/Remote Learning Environments (TRLE) program. New York’s TRLE program addresses the immediate and urgent learning needs of New York’s most vulnerable students and their parents during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing educators with the tools, resources, and training to facilitate blended/remote instruction when needed.  Additionally, the Department has issued guidance to schools and districts related to fiscal flexibilities for federal funding sources to assist Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) with unforeseen expenses during this unprecedented public health emergency.

Scheduled Webinars
Date Information

Thursday, September 10, 2pm

Understanding Digital Inclusion and Digital Equity, Francella Ochillo, Next Century Cities 


Register for Digital Inclusion and Digital Equity Webinar

Thursday, September 24, 2pm

Digital Bridge K-12 Initiative: Assessing Home Access Needs, Grace Ting and Ellen Goldich, Education Super Highway


Register for Digital Bridge K-12 Initiative: Assessing Home Access Needs Webinar

Thursday, October 1, 2pm

Connecting to Lifeline Program Resources During the Pandemic, Laurie Wheelock, The Public Utility Law Project


Register for Connecting to Lifeline Program Resources During the Pandemic

Thursday, October 8, 2pm

Building Community Broadband Networks, Greta Byrum, with speakers from The Point CDC and the Bronx Relief Effort, the Kingston Equitable Internet Initiative, the Buffalo Digital Divide Initiative, and New York's NYSERNet broadband consortium


Register for Building Community Broadband Networks

Thursday, October 22, 3:30pm

Using Digital Navigators to Bridge Social Divides, National Digital Inclusion Alliance


Register for Using Digital Navigators to Bridge Social Divides

Thursday, October 29, 2pm

Starting Your Own Digital Inclusion Coalition, Scott Kushner, Director of LaFayette Public Library and Annabeth Hayes, Director of Tully Free Library, founders of the Central New York Digital Inclusion Coalition; and Stacey Martin, Digital Inclusion Coordinator at Finger Lakes Digital Inclusion Coalition


Register for Starting Your Own Digital Inclusion Coalition

Thursday, November 12, 2pm

Capitalizing on OER for Equity in PK-12: Finding and Using Open Teaching and Learning Resources, Shawna M. Brandle, Kingsborough Community College; Stacy Katz, Lehman College; Jennifer Van Allen, Lehman College; and Nicole Williams, Bronx Community College.


Register for Capitalizing on OER for Equity in PK-12: Finding and Using Open Teach and Learning Resources

Thursday, December 3, 2pm

Broader than Broadband: Brooklyn Public Library’s Digital Equity Strategy, Brooklyn Public Library


Register for Broader than Broadband: Brooklyn Public Library’s Digital Equity Strategy

**Additional programs may be added for November and December.

More information and webinar registration details are available on the State Library’s Digital Equity Website.