As students in Fayette County, Georgia, get ready to take the Georgia Milestones Assessment this year, Title I Coordinator Clarice Howard is concerned about how the students in her district with limited access to technology will perform. “Students will be required to read passages, extract details, and complete assignments on their devices.” For those students who lack experience using technology, how will their test scores compare to their technology-fluent peers?
Like many state-mandated assessments across the country, the Georgia Milestones Assessment is transitioning to being administered exclusively online. It measures student performance in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies for students in grades 3 through high school and contributes 20 percent towards the student’s final course grade.
Kimberly R. is a single parent to a child at Bennett’s Mill Middle School, a Title I school in Fayette County, Georgia. She says, “(My son) struggles in school. Sometimes it takes him a really long time to grasp something. I’m trying to teach him to use the Internet to get help when he needs it.” Between long work hours and caring for her family, finding a way for her son to use the Internet when he needed it was always a struggle. “We used to use my cell phone when he needed help with his homework, but I had a really small data limit plan, plus the screen was too small (to complete the assignments). We would get in the car and go to my mom’s house or the library, if it was still open.”
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY FOR ALL
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, especially for those students who need the extra help, 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 within the elementary and middle schools, those families are identified and provided school-loaned equipment, and safe, affordable broadband Internet access with Kajeet SmartSpot®.
“When kids needed paper and pencil, we provided that. All students need access to devices. Title I provided devices for those who couldn’t afford them. As the school day extends outside the class, we needed to make sure students had what they needed, and that includes safe access to the Internet.”
Clarice Howard, Title I Coordinator, Fayette County Schools
And for students like Kimberly’s son, access to the Internet after school with Kajeet Education Broadband™ has made a world of difference. “It was very easy to set up.” She says, “He has been working harder and his homework is a lot less stressful. Now we can keep up with his homework through the school website and if he has a question, we can use the Internet to look up an answer.”
Kajeet® has partnered with the Fayette County School System to provide safe, filtered broadband Internet access to students with a demonstrated need using Title I funds. The Kajeet Education Broadband solution, featuring the Kajeet SmartSpot a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, combined with the Innovative Sentinel® cloud portal, enables administrators and teachers to provide CIPA-compliant, customizable filtered Internet access that keeps students focused on school work.