K-12 schools seek to connect 12 million students without home broadband
In 2021, Kajeet appointed 85 winners of the grant, a record number, says Michael Flood, the company’s senior vice president of education and general manager. “During the pandemic, almost every school district was forced to address this issue, because it was no longer just about homework. This was normal learning at school that had to be done remotely,” he says.
Kajeet provides award winners with solutions to help students connect outside of the school building, which will continue to be needed through 2022 and into future school years.
“The risk we face right now is that as we come out of the pandemic, we need schools to remember that this is a problem that existed before the pandemic and that it affects many certain groups of students disproportionately,” says Flood. “We’ve found ways during the pandemic to connect all students, and we need to make sure we keep those students connected.”
Past winners continue to use hotspots
When chief technology officer Sondra Ayscue was awarded hotspots in October 2018 as a Kajeet grant winner, the devices were used as a trial for students at Franklin County schools in North Carolina.
“With the homework grant, Kajeet had actually added US cell service, which is better for us in our rural areas,” Ayscue says. “When I applied, we asked for the UScellular, and they worked. I only had ten, but we sent those ten as test cases to our middle schoolers, because they were the ones bringing home Chromebooks at that time, and our high school students.
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Now, schools in Franklin County have 2,200 hotspots to keep their students connected at home and in other places outside of the classroom. “Not all of them are deployed, but we are deploying a few every day, still trying to push remote learning for some of our students.”
Dupo School District, a grant-winning K-12 district in Illinois that also received its hotspots before the pandemic, has found technology to be a beneficial solution for remote learning and homework.