Second Launch WV making a difference to schools around the state

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Seeing the emotion of principals and superintendents is what it is all about for Dave Cartwright and the Second Launch West Virginia program.

Cartwright is the Assistant Director of Infrastructure and Network Operations at the West Virginia Department of Education and the leader of the department’s Second Launch WV program.

The program takes donated used computers and technology equipment at its Charleston warehouse, makes the equipment work like new again, packages it together, and sends it to counties around the state for use.

“Some of the principals and superintendents have tears in their eyes when they pick up the equipment,” Cartwright said. “It’s all about making a difference.”

Second Launch WV was established March 3, 2014, and launched in June 2015, and has sent out over 15,000 items to 47 counties in West Virginias with a cost savings of over $5 million. As of Thanksgiving week, 1,281 items have been sent to Pre-K classrooms, 12,211 to K-12 classrooms and 1,299 to Career Technical Educational (CTE) classrooms.

Beginning in 2018, the West Virginia Department of Education has partnered with the West Virginia Library Commission to also provide equipment to the state’s 118 public libraries which have resulted in 460 items being shipped to school libraries.

“We have a running list,” Cartwright said. “Each county has a technology person and I work directly with them. Each county has money but they never have enough money. What we are trying to do is fill in the holes.

“20 machines here, 20 notebooks there, we fill their list. Every week has a load going out and it costs the counties nothing. All they have to do is come to pick it up.”

Cartwright added that Second Launch WV will send parts to the 13 CTE classrooms in the state that teach computer repair. The students are then able to rebuild the equipment for their counties as a way of learning hands-on that is beneficial to everyone.

The program will take any piece of technological equipment such as laptops, power cords, printers, routers and keyboards from any donor. In addition to equipment from state agencies, Second Launch receives donated equipment from private organizations such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mountaineer Gas and the West Virginia Air National Guard.

Cartwright said there is always a constant flow through the warehouse.

“At our warehouse, we rebuild these machines, reload them with modern software such as Windows 10 and Office 2016 and then we reinvest them all over the state.

“We have pallets full of computers in the warehouse. We have never run out of computers. The first day I started the program I got 76 pallets. A pallet could have 40 or 50 machines on it.”

Cartwright noted that some equipment in libraries across the state is over 10 years old. The shape of the equipment they receive through donations are usually no more than four years old, giving the school libraries fresh starts.

“We are replacing machines that just don’t exist anymore,” he said. “They have nothing at all. At least we are putting those in there.

“The cool thing about it is every year at the warehouse, we get new stuff. Every year we can keep switching it out. We started five years ago so those machines are now nine years old. It’s time to start over, back at the beginning and keep pushing these out there.”

The Second Launch WV warehouse is located near the Habitat for Humanity Restore along the Elk River in Charleston and has two full-time employees and an intern at the warehouse.

John Woodrum II and Misty Woodrum work as full-time employees as Nicholas Cartwright has recently wrapped up an internship there.

For more information on the program, click here.

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