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Thursday, October 2, 2014
School News
District 30 receives laptop donation
Students gets 121 extra computers to use
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Students at Clear Stream Avenue School use laptops that were recently donated to District 30 from a non-profit organization run by a Great Neck teacher.

When a person hears that they’re being offered something for free, normally one of the first thoughts to pop into their head is “what’s the catch?” That’s because a lot of the time there is a catch associated with a free offer, and it’s a question that Jon Zimmerman has to answer frequently.

‘They want to know what the catch is,” he said. “Nobody gives away anything for free.”

Zimmerman, a science teacher at Great Neck North Middle School, recently donated 121 laptops to Valley Stream District 30 — no strings attached. It wasn’t the first sizeable donation Zimmerman has made; in fact he estimates he has donated more than 3,000 computers in the last three years through his organization, Comp4Kids, a not-for-profit charity.

“I get a lot of satisfaction because I know that I’m really doing a lot of good for a bunch of children that I’ll never meet,” he said.

The 121 laptops he donated to District 30 wasn’t the first donation he made to the district, either. Approximately 18 months ago, Gerard Poole, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said Zimmerman made an initial donation of 25 laptops. Since it worked out so well, Ryan Meloni, director of technology, reached out to Zimmerman again in June to inquire about another donation.

“In a 2 percent tax cap…expanding and increasing your technology abilities and the infrastructure is more and more challenging,” Poole said. “To be able to get a donation of 121 laptops to support everything from testing to instruction to ESL is really a gift for everybody.”

Zimmerman, a Port Washington resident, gets laptops from corporate donations, government grants and words of mouth. Then, he and his team, consisting of his wife, children and student volunteers, refurbish the laptops in his garage.

“I’m a schoolteacher and I was upset that certain kids have access to computers and other kids don’t,” he said. “I wanted to do what I could to make the classroom a level playing field for all children.”

Zimmerman estimates he works between 10-15 hours per week refurbishing laptops, but is happy to do it. “I really feel very fulfilled and I think this is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done,” he said. “I feel content with what I’m giving back to my community.”

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