MCLEAN, Va. — Kajeet, the industry leader for safe, mobile student Internet connectivity, announces the winners of its first-ever Homework Gap Grant.
Due to the overwhelming number of responses and the burgeoning need, Kajeet expanded the awardees from three to five. The winners are: School District of the Menomonie Area, Stanfield Elementary School District 24, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, Warsaw Community Schools, and Webutuck Central School District. The Kajeet Homework Gap Grant is designed to help schools and districts pilot a Kajeet Education Broadband filtered Internet program in order to provide students Internet outside the classroom.
Winners span the nation, from Arizona to New York. Each offered an inspiring story about how Kajeet can help their students succeed. Schools will experience the full Kajeet customer-first service, with Kajeet working with the schools all year long to assist and track student success. Of the five winners, one will pilot the Kajeet SmartBus solution, and four will provide Kajeet SmartSpot (Wi-Fi hotspot) devices to their students.
Students of Stanfield Elementary School District 24 have the longest bus route in the entire state of Arizona, and possibly the whole country. With 100 percent of students qualified for free or reduced-cost lunch, Stanfield will make the most of students’ time by providing access on their hour-plus bus rides with the Kajeet SmartBus solution. “I’m excited that our students are going to have an opportunity to use digital remediation programs that we now have in place,” said Kimberly Christie, math specialist, Stanfield. “They were unable to do so before because they lacked Internet access.”
The School District of the Menomonie Area in Wisconsin piloted a 1:1 program in the classroom, and this year is expanding the program to grades 6-12. In order to focus more on the learning advantages, not just the technology, they branded their 1:1 program as the 1:1 M-Powered Learning Initiative. “This grant offers an opportunity for us to pilot providing after-school Internet access,” said Katie Krueger, director of technology services, Menomonie. “The Kajeet devices will help things go smoothly. By giving students Internet access at home, we are able to remove even more barriers than we anticipated in the first year of the 1:1 rollout.”
Next up is Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, which discovered that not all of their students had equal Internet access once they left the classroom. A 1:1 pilot program launched with a new Learning Management System (LMS) propelled Unionville-Chadds toward a full digital curriculum. “We are hoping now for timely turn-in of assignments; students to do research at home; and maybe staying for clubs after school instead of just doing homework,” said Justin Webb, director of technology, Unionville-Chadds Ford. “I want to help those kids in need.”
In their third year since launching a 1:1 program, Warsaw Community Schools now has a full 1:1 rollout in grades K-12, with devices going home with grades 5-12. However, due to geographical distances and rural areas, many students are without connectivity at home, or the ability to find transportation to access free Wi-Fi at local businesses. The Warsaw Chief Technology Officer Brad Hagg, said, “We’re really looking forward to giving those students who don’t have Internet access at home the opportunity to collaborate with peers and enjoy the rich digital content that other students currently have.”
Webutuck Central School District is a small, rural district in New York, with a student body comprising mostly of rural families living on the edge of poverty. “As an educator, I want all of our students to be able to have access to everything they need to be successful,” said ESL teacher, Monica Baker, Webutuck. As Webutuck rolls out their 1:1 initiative, they see the need for equal access in and outside the classroom. “These students are very hard workers and just want to have all the success that their peers have,” continued Baker. “I want to ensure that our students have access to anything that they want—whatever they want to learn, on whatever platform, in and outside of school,” said Bill Brown, director of technology, Webutuck.
All five school districts will launch their Kajeet Education Broadband pilot programs this month, and will continue their pilots for the duration of the school year. “We were deeply impressed by their stories, and of course the need that expands across our nation to provide all students equal access,” said Daniel Neal, CEO and founder, Kajeet. “With so much need, we increased the number of grant winners contributing to closing the Homework Gap in even more districts.” Kajeet partners with over 420 schools and districts across the U.S. to provide safe, mobile Internet access to all students.