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Homework Gap Heroes: 8 Districts Making an Impact on Student Success
Written by: Kajeet
Although 7 in 10 teachers assign homework requiring Internet access, 30% of families do not subscribe to broadband services, according to the FCC. This leaves 5 million households with school-aged children lacking the online resources needed to achieve in school.
We want to ensure it is affordable for your low-income students to have the broadband access they need to complete their homework. To help illustrate how school districts are successfully closing the "homework gap," we identified a few customers who are making an impact and helping students better engage in school and succeed.
At Kajeet, our goal is to provide safe, affordable mobile broadband so your students have an equal chance for academic success. More than 80 schools and districts in 25 states trust Kajeet Education Broadband™ as their solution for Internet connectivity outside the classroom.
Discover how other school districts - just like yours - are leveling the playing field with this collection of eight success stories.
1. Fayette County
Fayette County Schools is a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) district, but students with a demonstrated need are given access to school-loaned devices through Title I funding.
Since Internet access is critical for completing homework assignments, Title I Coordinator, Clarice Howard, discovered she could also use Title I funds to provide Internet access to her district's low-income students. Working with Title I parent liaisons, those families are identified and provided school-loaned equipment, and safe, affordable broadband Internet access with Kajeet SmartSpot®.
Read how Title I funds are helping Georgia's at-risk students succeed.
2. Lamar CISD
One district in Texas is getting kids ready for the fall semester -- now. Lamar CISD provided Pre-K students with an extra boost over the summer to get them ready for kindergarten.
In states where universal preschool is not a requirement, the risk for these children is even greater. Parents are on their own to make sure their children are prepared for the challenges of kindergarten. But even in states with robust preschool programs, struggling students who lack early-reading skills are at a disadvantage when they enter kindergarten.
The Lamar Consolidated Independent School District is continuing their commitment to help at-risk preschoolers get ready for kindergarten and is preparing for this year’s program, serving more children throughout the district with the combination of laptops, Kajeet SmartSpot devices and the Waterford pre-reading program.
Read how summer internet access gives rising kindergartners an extra boost.
3. Richland 2 School District
There are many struggles for first-generation immigrants to overcome when they move to this country. South Carolina's Richland District Two is hoping to set these families up for success by offering at-home wireless Internet access after school. Richland's District Two has been committed to integrating technology into the classroom and is just as committed to making sure technology is available to all of their students outside of the classroom as well.
While many districts around the country are incorporating 1-to-1 or BYOD programs into their schools, few districts, such as Richland District Two, are doing both at the same time – and successfully.
Through the initial success of Richland District Two's pilot partnership with Kajeet, they have increased the next phase of the program to include more Kajeet SmartSpot® devices for safe, filtered Internet broadband. It has also been expanded to include other ESOL students and those identified by school social workers as having need.
Read how internet access helps Spanish-speaking families prosper.
4. Pontiac School District
In a school district where budgets are extremely tight — like Pontiac, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit — spending more than is absolutely necessary to ensure Internet connectivity for their students just isn’t an option. Jeff Mozdzierz, Director of Technology for Pontiac School District, was tasked with finding a way to give students without home Internet access a way to connect after school.
To get the program up and running as quickly as possible and get Internet access into the hands of the kids who needed it most, the Pontiac School District was able to use operational funds to jumpstart the program for the first year. They are piloting 100 Kajeet SmartSpot devices through a library check-out system in their media center. Students are able to borrow the Kajeet SmartSpot for seven days and can bring them back for renewal.
Read how with filtered student home internet, this district only pays for data needed.
5. DeKalb ISD
With just under 1,000 students in grades K-12, DeKalb ISD is a small, rural school district in DeKalb, Texas, near the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma. In a district where 70% of students are economically disadvantaged and 60% have no computer at home, it was no surprise that so many of them also lacked home Internet access.
The decision to partner with Kajeet Education Broadband™ to offer filtered, wireless Internet access to their students who otherwise lacked access to the Internet outside of school was an easy one. Allowing students to also check out the Kajeet SmartSpot® devices - portable, wireless MiFi devices that allow anytime, anywhere Internet access that is safe and secure - was a big win! Kajeet Education Broadband allows the customer to monitor student’s Internet usage and filter content to ensure that their students are only using the Internet for educational purposes.
Read how DeKalb ISD is keeping students focused on education and costs down.
6. Detroit Public Schools
The Detroit Public Schools district, overseeing nearly 100 schools, faces a fundamental challenge – providing safe and affordable Internet connectivity to more than 50,000 students across Detroit. Currently, only 30 percent of DPS students have Internet access at home.
Detroit Public Schools is doing something about it by making technology one of its foremost priorities. Thanks to educational grants, DPS students in grades six and above now have access to Netbooks in class, while those in grades eight through 12 are participating in a take-home Netbook program. With these devices in place, the only remaining hurdle is reliable and cost-effective Internet connectivity.
That’s where Kajeet enters the picture. Approximately 500 Kajeet SmartSpot™ Wi-Fi hotspot devices were deployed in November 2013 as part of a pilot supporting DPS’ take-home Netbook program for eighth through 12th grades.
Read how Detroit Public Schools takes connectivity burden off parents' shoulders.
7. Chicago Public Schools
Despite facing challenges that are common in large, urban school districts today, Chicago Public Schools has been on the leading edge of innovation regarding the use of mobile devices in their classrooms.
Chicago’s mobile learning initiative has been the largest centralized deployment of tablet computers to students and teachers in the United States. However, those tablets were not allowed to go home with the students; they were for in-school use only. While the impact in the classroom was significant, the district was missing the opportunity to extend learning beyond the school day and to leverage these devices for increased Internet access.
In fall 2012, fifth grade students from one neighborhood school on Chicago’s west side were each assigned tablets with management through the Kajeet Sentinel® platform in the cloud. For 61 percent of those students and their families, they now had high-speed Internet access for the first time outside school.
Read how mobile devices are extending the impact in Chicago Public Schools.
8. Forsyth Public Schools
The Forsyth BYOT program is based on students using their own mobile devices – laptops, tablets, smartphones, e-readers, and even Internet-capable gaming devices — as part of the class curriculum. The reality however, is that nearly 20 percent of the district’s students are economically disadvantaged, and many are without access to a mobile computing device and the Internet. Through active fund-raising, the district was able to have school-issued devices available for students who didn’t own any mobile devices.
Through a competitive application process Forsyth schools articulated how they would use the Kajeet SmartSpot™ devices for connectivity, how they would train their teachers, students and parents, and finally what steps they would take to sustain the program long term. As a result, 175 Kajeet SmartSpot devices have been implemented to date across 18 Forsyth schools.
Read how bringing your own technology is helping students succeed.
Tag(s): Homework Gap , Digital Divide , SmartSpot , WiFi for Students , Education