Spartanburg School District Seven has teamed with a local housing authority and two private partners in a project that will provide home Internet access for students living in public housing.
For two years, the district has been providing students in grades 3-12 iPads or MacBook Airs. Following a survey, the district estimated that half its students didn't have home Internet access and began partnering with local organizations such as businesses and churches to provide Wi-Fi access in the community for those students. Some students, however, were not even able to access those locations.
As a result, Spartanburg School District Seven, Spartanburg Housing Authority,Novatel Wireless and Kajeet have partnered to launch a pilot project that will "provide students in public housing with filtered Internet connectivity to access online textbooks, apps, emails, documents and Web sites, as well as communicate with their teachers," according to a news release.
"These devices are giving them opportunities — a tool to further their education," said Christine Horowitz, director of instructional technology for Spartanburg District Seven, in a prepared statement. "When they take their iPads and computers home, it extends the learning day. Now we want to level the playing field for those without Internet access at home. This new program will benefit our students and their families."
"Public housing authorities provide adequate and affordable housing, but no Internet," said Miguel A. Pastrana, IT systems analyst for the Spartanburg Housing Authority, in a news release. "I am a big proponent of education, and this is a great opportunity to level the playing field for these students. At the Spartanburg Housing Authority, we are always looking for ways to assist or make an impact on our resident's lives. By collaborating with Spartanburg School District 7, Kajeet and Novatel Wireless, we all now have the opportunity, not only to make a contribution to the residents and the community at large, but to the students who currently do not have many outlets and at times feel that no one cares."
When we started Kajeet in 2003, we wanted kids to be agile with technology, to be empowered and safe, and we wanted to help them respond with confidence to what's happening in their world. Not incidentally, we want parents, educators and guardians to be involved too. Being part of the mobile world is not just fun, it’s a shared responsibility.