The gap between students with internet access and those without connectivity is beginning to close in the Amphitheater Public School District.
The Amphi Foundation is partnering with Cox and Comcast to offer free internet service at home to families who need it. The Amphi Foundation and GRIN (another local nonprofit) have made an initial commitment of up to $35,000 to sponsor at least six months of free internet connectivity for as many Amphi families as possible. The district-wide partnership is the first of its kind in Southern Arizona.
“While the Amphi Foundation’s mission has always been to promote academic excellence, this initiative speaks to the obvious importance of connecting students to their virtual classrooms and recognizes the need to connect our students emotionally, culturally, and socially to their peers and school communities,” said Leah Noreng, Executive Director of the Amphi Foundation.
“We are grateful for the donors and nonprofit partners that have stepped up to make this initial commitment, but this is also a Call to Action for our community to consider making an investment in an Amphi student’s education this school year so that we can ensure that every Amphi student is connected.” Noreng said.
The community initiative is a game-changer for Amphi’s students, Amphitheater Public School District Superintendent Todd Jaeger said.
“At a time when we need the support of our community more than ever, we are so grateful to Cox and Comcast – two corporate giants – and the Amphi Foundation for coming to the aid of our schools and their students,” Jaeger said. “I appreciate these generous organizations for all they are doing to help us make the best of this situation.”
Amphi families in need of program details or assistance getting connected may contact Beth Lake with Amphitheater Public Schools at 696.5211 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Participating households will receive internet service speeds of up to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
Cox and Comcast have stepped up in a time of tremendous need to do what they can as community partners to help a problem that has existed for a long time but has become more acute since COVID-19 has forced more students online.
“During this time of distance learning, our focus remains on connecting low-income families in Tucson to the internet and keeping them connected during this unprecedented time, said Lisa Lovallo, Southern Arizona Market Leader and Vice President of Cox Communications. “We continue to look at ways to support kids that need the tools to succeed and believe community partnerships with our local schools are the fastest way to get reliable internet connections into their homes for learning right now, when they need it most.”
Throughout the pandemic, Cox has implemented several programs to help families connect from home during the pandemic. In Tucson, Cox has seen an increase of 400% in students connected to our Connect2Complete low cost internet service. Currently Cox is offering new qualifying families throughout Southern Arizona who sign up for Connect2Compete before September 30, 2 free months of internet service. In addition to keep those working and learning from home, Cox has opened up it’s statewide network of 2500+ wifi hotspots in Arizona, that is available to any resident, free of charge.
In addition to connectivity, many students need equipment to get their work done. Cox continues to partner with local, regional and national organizations to provide discounted, refurbished laptops and accessories to families that qualify for the Connect2Compete program. The James M. Cox Foundation recently awarded a $100,000 grant to PCs for People, a nonprofit that is dedicated to providing high-quality, discounted computers to low-income families across Cox’s footprint nationwide.
“Internet Essentials is truly living up to its name, providing essential at-home internet connections to families who need it most,” said Chris Dunkeson, Area Vice President, Comcast. “We’re proud to help Amphitheater Public Schools accelerate their efforts to close the digital divide and provide internet access to more families in need.”
The Internet Essentials Partnership Program from Comcast is designed to help accelerate Internet adoption at a critical time. The program provides the opportunity for schools districts and other organizations to fund and quickly connect large numbers of students and families to broadband access at home. Additionally, Comcast is offering 60 days of free internet service to new Internet Essentials customers through the end of this year.
In nearly ten years, Internet Essentials has become the nation’s largest and most successful low-income Internet adoption program and has connected millions of people to the Internet. It offers households low-cost, broadband Internet service for $9.95/month, the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer, and multiple options for digital literacy training. It includes Comcast’s innovative xFi platform, which enables parents to control and manage their children’s WiFi connected devices.