The Kajeet team was wowed by the staggering number of submissions we received that portray a very visible Homework Gap occurring across the country. With so many compelling stories, we had a difficult time choosing just three grant awardees, so we decided to give out five!
Without further ado, we’d like to introduce our Homework Gap Grant winners.
Menomonie is launching a full 1:1 program in grades 6-12 this school year. But, the district wanted more than just a program focused on putting devices into the hands of their students. So they started by naming their program the 1:1 M-Powered Learning Initiative. By branding their program, the 1:1 Menomonie program goes from just giving devices to students to promoting equity and providing personalized learning opportunities.
This district serves rural and economically-disadvantaged students. Many of these students have limited Internet (i.e. through a parent’s cell phone), or no Internet access at home. Through the Kajeet Education Broadband™ pilot, SmartSpot® devices will be available for library checkout. Menomonie wants to continue to leverage technology in their classrooms, while maintaining a level playing field for all students.
Located 45 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona, Stanfield Elementary School District 24 is the only school in their district. And they face unique conditions. Stanfield students have the longest bus route in the state, and possibly in the country. Some students spend up to an hour and twenty minutes one way on the school bus. This district serves a large community with many migrant, homeless, and economically-disadvantaged students, with 100 percent who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
With new digital programs such as ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) and IXL, Stanfield wants to ensure students have sufficient time to access these programs and improve their math skills. The Kajeet SmartBus™ solution will extend learning time for students on their long route to school and back home. Stanfield aims to be a digital school, but recognizes that the digital mindset needs to extend to the community. These students will now have an additional two or more hours to spend connected to educationally filtered, CIPA-compliant Internet on the school bus.
Unionville, located in Pennsylvania, began a 1:1 program in their middle schools two years ago when their teachers wanted to incorporate more technology into the curriculum. Moving forward, Unionville aims to expand the 1:1 program from grades 6 through 12. But, during the 1:1 pilot, they discovered not all students have equal access to the Internet after school. While they previously have used offline materials for students that need it, the offline option places students – and teachers – in an unfair disadvantage to their peers.
This district conducts multiple surveys to their students, parents, and teachers throughout the year, and is able to track key technology and learning trends. The Kajeet SmartSpot devices will be available in the middle school’s libraries, ready for checkout all year long. Unionville looks forward to tracking which websites students visit, or try to visit, through the Kajeet cloud platform, Sentinel®.
Warsaw Community Schools in Indiana started their 1:1 program three years ago in grade six, and this year they will shift to a full 1:1 program for kindergarden through grade 12. Grades five through 12 bring home the devices, while K-4 students use devices solely in the classroom. Warsaw focuses on increasing students’ digital citizenship skills and their use of the 4C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking). Once Canvas was added as their Learning Management System (LMS), the need for Internet access at home was even more apparent.
As a mostly rural area, students frequently lack connectivity at home. In order to track Internet access and perception of technology, Warsaw also conducts annuals surveys, which is how they discovered the growing Homework Gap. The Kajeet SmartSpot devices will be distributed to the middle and high schools, allowing students to collaborate with peers and have the same access as their connected friends.
Located in rural New York, Webutuck Central School District is mostly comprised of rural families on the edge of, or living in, poverty. Many families cannot afford Internet at home. This area in particular exceeds the national average that states 28 percent of Americans in rural areas do not have access or cannot afford broadband. And students do not have many additional options for Internet. Due to the rural location, it is difficult for students to even find locations that offer free Wi-Fi if they need it, let alone secure transportation to get to those locations.
Webutuck is gearing up for a full 1:1 launch in September 2018. Currently, they have devices available for all grades, and now they will have SmartSpot devices available through a media checkout program. The Kajeet program will help students in the Webutuck district access Internet after school and engage in learning outside of the classroom.
Congratulations again to all of the winners, and thank you to everyone who submitted an application. As schools continue adding digital programs to their curriculum, it’s important to ensure all students have access outside the classroom. If you’d like to get started with a pilot program to see how Kajeet will work with your technology program, let us know and we will be in touch.