Digital Equity and Inclusion


Review the following DEI affiliates, support materials, organizations, and partners.

Contact Information

KC Merchant he/him
Digital Equity & Inclusion Program Supervisor
(360) 918-4565

Ana Ketch she/her
Digital Navigation Grant Manager
(564) 999-0503

Digital equity and inclusion (DEI) in education is the push for all students no matter their geography, socioeconomic status, race, or school district to have equitable access to the same quality of education.

Students having equitable access to technology is essential in having a quality education, the skills and training for the modern workforce, and engagement in society and civics.

DEI Definitions

For the purposes of the DEI Grant, OSPI's Educational Technology team determined the following definitions.

1:1 Device

1:1 Device is defined as every student having access to an assigned device that is exclusively theirs. This device may or may not go home with the student, but the student has access to this device when needed.

Inclusive Technology

Inclusive Technology is hardware that supports many students in different ways. For Example, an interactive board is considered inclusive because it supports students with amplified audio and closed-captioning and is adjustable. Amplified audio: supports hard-of-hearing,  and clear audio for students needing language support and supports equal access to a speaker regardless of seating. Supports multiple students at once in multiple ways.

Adaptive/Assistive Technology

Adaptive/Assistive Technology is hardware that supports individual students to have equitable access to learning. Examples; a modified input device for a tablet, a brail generating tablet, an in-ear translator, or an assistive hearing device. Supports a single student, often in a specialized way as needed by that student.

Digital Navigation

Digital Navigation is providing students and their families with not only devices, but internet connectivity, and the skills needed to navigate online. Through guidance from OSPI and ESDs, supporting digital navigation can provide families with access to benefits such as affordable internet, access to childcare, and other government programs that have moved online and require online skills.

New grants available now!

OSPI’s Educational Technology Department held a webinar on November 15th, 2023 to give a brief overview of both the Digital Navigation Grant and the Adaptive/Inclusive Technology Grant.  Please see the Power Point below for the information we spoke about.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us! 

Digital Equity & Inclusion Grants Power Point 2023

Digital Navigation Grant (FP 280)

Recent legislation has provided OSPI with the ability to continue to carry on the activities outlined in House Bill 1365. This bill, originally approved in 2021, was focused on increasing digital equity for students of our state.  One aspect of the approach is to provide digital navigation grants, which focuses on the goal of Sec. 4(1c): Develop district-based and school-based capacity to assist students and their families in accessing and using technology to support student learning.  

Grant Details

What is digital navigation?

Digital Navigation involves providing students and their families with the skills needed to navigate the online environment, including help with acquiring internet connectivity, and locating affordable devices. Supporting digital navigation can provide families with access to benefits such as affordable (or free) internet, access to email and school platforms, childcare, healthcare, and government programs that have moved online and require online skills. See the Digital Navigator Model for more information.

This grant aims to create an opportunity to increase digital navigation capacity and sustainability for students and their families in school districts. Grant projects must be sustainable after the grant funding period ends.


1. What types of projects can be funded?

  • Create a student digital navigator program (individual or club) for student and family support, including staff oversight. 
  • Provide support for staff and marketing for creating community asset inventories (identifying community organizations and resources) for digital navigation, connectivity, and acquisition of devices (and related equipment) for students and families.
  • Acquire resources to establish a student/family-accessible space.  
  • Provide digital navigation nights/events at your district for students and families.
  • Others as applicable to your school or district.  

2. How much is the award?

$1.1M total is available for the state. Award amounts will vary based on project scope and scale. While grants will be awarded to districts in both urban and rural areas, there will be some priority status given to rural/remote, districts with high percentages of FRPL, and districts with high readiness to implement.  

3.  Can I purchase hardware?

Hardware (printers/faxes/tablets/kiosks) to engage the stakeholders in the program can be covered.

4. What positions can be funded?

Both classified and salaried positions.

5. Does the money roll over?

No, funds must be used by June 30, 2024. Reimbursement must be submitted by September 15, 2024, for all rendered goods and services.

6. Can ESD’s apply?

ESDs are welcome to apply to support small, rural, and remote districts.  

Eligible Applicants:

  • Public Schools (Includes public charter and tribal compact schools)
  • School Districts
  • Educational Service Districts

Applications available: Week of November 6, 2023

Applications due:  December 20, 2023


Other Related Links:

Affordable Connectivity Program

Federal Initiatives

State Initiatives

The Washington Statewide Broadband Act (under RCW 43.330.536) aims to close the digital divide by providing:

  • By 2024: 25/3 megabits per second (Mbps) scalable
  • By 2026: 1/1 gigabit per second (Gbps) all anchor institutions
  • By 2028: 150/150 Mbps all residents and businesses

The Department of Commerce has also created a digital equity forum, funded digital navigator programs, and provided drive-in hotspots for areas without connectivity.

OSPI Initiatives

Funded through House Bill 1365, the OSPI EdTech department supported districts across the state in shoring up the 1:1 programs, adopting and training the use of inclusive and adaptive technologies, and having the support staff to fund those initiatives.

Read the Washington Earns National Recognition in Advancements towards Digital Equity article for more information.

Read the Digital Equity Champions for All Learners article for more information.

Digital Equity and Inclusion Grant

An essential part of implementing OSPI’s educational technology standards is advocating for sufficient funding for all districts to help close opportunity gaps related to educational technology.

AESD Initiatives

  • Professional Development: Digital Navigation Services Course (Learn about the three core tenets of Digital Navigation and Inclusion: internet connection, devices, and digital skills and supports. Share and learn about resources to bring connectivity to your school and community)