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Home » Policy & Funding » School Technology » Digital Equity and Inclusion

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

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 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 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 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 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.

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. 

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)
Educational Technology