Community partnerships enhance education

Published 2:21 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

When the members of the Indian Springs Kiwanis Club learned about a need at Oak Mountain High School, they went to work.

After asking for donations from the community, the club made an initial delivery of 100 Google Chromebook laptop computers on Thursday, Jan. 31, with plans to double that number of computers and then begin efforts to provide them for other Oak Mountain schools.

“We discovered that schools used to provide textbooks, but now much is done with the Google Chromebook computer,” said Dale Elliott, past club president. “Local city schools supply these, but Oak Mountain is the largest system in our county, and the only one not in the city limits of a city providing assistance.”

Before the Kiwanians got involved, Oak Mountain High School had one Chromebook for every three students.

The Kiwanis Club set a goal of donating 200 Chromebooks so that the school would have a 1-to-1 supply—eliminating the need for students to share during the day and the barrier to them taking home the devices if needed.

In addition to the Kiwanis Club’s efforts, Southern Nuclear donated 40 Chromebooks, and Elliott’s Heart South Cardiovascular Group donated 10 Chromebooks.

A total of about $28,000 has been collected so far.

“The outpouring of the community has been tremendous,” Elliott said.

Fundraising for the remainder of the club’s goal will include a pancake breakfast in the spring.

Once the high school’s needs are met, the Kiwanis Club plans to begin providing Chromebooks for younger students in the area—in fact, these conversations have already begun.

OMHS Principal Kristi Sayers said access to the technology at a young age benefits the students once they reach high school.

“That’s where kids really learn, if you have it from kindergarten on through,” Sayers said.

The Kiwanians encouraged service club members in other parts of Shelby County to consider such an effort to provide needed technology for students in their areas, and their suggestion is spot-on.

While we have excellent school systems in Shelby County, education works best when local communities partner with those systems.

The Chromebooks for Eagles effort in North Shelby County is a perfect example that I hope will spread throughout the county.

Stephen Dawkins is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 524 or by email at