CALISTOGA — Evidence of a digital divide between Latino and Anglo households surfaced when the Calistoga school district surveyed parents about how they prefer to receive communication about their students.
According to a district report, 62 percent of parents in English-speaking households preferred receiving information via email, compared to 7 percent of Spanish-speaking households who favored email.
Forty-two percent of Spanish-speaking households preferred receiving messages through phone calls, while 10 percent of English-speaking households preferred receiving information that way.
The frequency at which parents visit the school’s website varies widely, with 35 percent of English-speaking parents visiting the site on a weekly.
The survey revealed that 56 percent of Spanish-speaking parents never visit the district website.
These disparities are most likely attributable to the percentage of homes with Internet access, according to the survey.
In English language homes, 81 percent said they have Internet access on a computer and 10 percent have access through a mobile device. In Spanish language homes 49 percent had Internet access on a computer, 21 percent on a mobile device and 29 percent with no access.
Latinos are the least Internet-connected ethnic group in California, Alicia Orozco with the Chicana Latina Foundation, a San Francisco nonprofit, said last week before a Latino Technology Fair in Napa.
The cost of computers and Internet access can be a barrier. For Latinos living in some farming areas, wireless service can be spotty, Orozco said.
The foundation participated in an event Sunday at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church with the goal of connecting the unconnected.
Of those who participated in the Calistoga survey, about 75 percent of the responses were from Spanish speakers, with the remainder coming from English speakers.
The use of mobile devices with texting ability is proving to be successful in both Spanish- and English-speaking households, school officials noted, but that method of communication was not part of this survey.
Texting as a preferred method of receiving information will be a choice on the next survey, said Vicka Llamas, principal of Calistoga Elementary School, who was involved in the data collection.
Technology use in Calistoga’s schools continues to evolve, benefiting students and their parents, school officials were told Tuesday night.
The Calistoga Joint Unified Board of Trustees heard how the use of iPads at the elementary school and ChromeBooks at the junior-senior high school are being integrated into day-to-day use in the district.
Apple executives visited Calistoga Elementary School to see how iPads are being used in classrooms, giving teachers a chance to show what they’ve been doing with a collaboration between kindergarten and fifth-grade classes, Llamas reported.
At Calistoga Junior-Senior High School, ChromeBooks are checked out by junior high students on a daily basis and used throughout the day. Students are increasing their use and understanding of technology in their studies as a result, said Principal David Kumamoto.