(1) Each educational service district shall provide technology consultation, procurement, and training, in consultation with teacher-librarians through school library information and technology programs as defined in RCW 28A.320.240
, and as described in this section. An educational service district may meet the requirements of this section in cooperation with one or more other educational service districts.
(2) Technology consultation involves providing technical assistance and guidance to local school districts related to technology needs and financing, and may include consultation with other entities.
(3)(a) Technology procurement involves negotiating for local school district purchasing and leasing of learning devices and peripheral devices, learning management systems, cybersecurity protection, device insurance, and other technology-related goods and services.
(b) When selecting goods and services for procurement, the educational service district must consider a variety of student needs, as well as accessibility, age appropriateness, privacy and security, data storage and transfer capacity, and telecommunications capability.
(c) Technology procurement may be performed in consultation and contract with the department of enterprise services under chapter 39.26
(4) Technology training involves developing and offering direct services to local school districts related to staff development and capacity building to provide digital navigation services to students and their families. The educational service districts must seek to consult teacher-librarians and other relevant information technology programs to determine where there is a need and focus for this training. These services may be provided on a fee-for-service basis.
(5) Technology consultation, procurement, and training under this section must be provided to local public schools, as defined in RCW 28A.150.010
, the Washington center for deaf and hard of hearing youth, and the school for the blind, in addition to local school districts. Technology training under this section may also be offered to child care providers.
(6) The educational service districts must cooperate with the office of the superintendent of public instruction to provide the data required under RCW 28A.650.070
Finding—Purpose—2021 c 301: "(1) The legislature recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the importance of internet-accessible learning devices for the ability of students to receive a modern education. When Washington schools closed in March 2020, schools and school districts shifted quickly to offering education in an online environment. Teachers adapted their lessons for videoconferencing platforms and arranged for students to submit homework via email. However, limited opportunities for in-person instruction amplified digital deserts and disparities among students that are likely to continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
(2) The legislature finds that students from low-income families face disproportionate barriers to accessing learning over the internet in their homes, partly because they do not have internet-accessible devices appropriate for learning. The legislature also recognizes that accessing learning over the internet requires more than just an internet-accessible device appropriate for learning. For students and their families to be truly connected, they need the digital literacy, digital skills, and digital support to use internet-accessible devices and to navigate the web in support of student learning. (3) Therefore, the purposes of this act are to: (a) Accelerate student access to learning devices and related goods and services; (b) expand training programs and technical assistance on using technology to support student learning; and (c) build the capacity of schools and districts to support digital navigation services for students and their families." [ 2021 c 301 § 1