To keep students connected and ready for distance learning, the City of Phoenix and School Connect have partnered to provide internet-enabled laptops to assist local schools in closing the technology gap.
“The digital divide has only been amplified by the current COVID-19 crisis. It is more crucial than ever to provide our students, families and educators with the tools they need to continue learning, despite interruptions to traditional in-person schooling,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “With the distribution of approximately 10,000 devices, I’m proud the city has stepped up to make distanced learning more manageable, accessible and equitable.”
As the pandemic continues, the digital divide has become even more challenging for local school districts. One issue is that devices and laptops are often returned to schools damaged. The laptops provided by this partnership will help schools achieve and maintain a 1:1 student-to-device ratio for grades K-12.
“School Connect and Scottsdale Bible Church are grateful to partner with the city to make it possible for students to have equitable access to online resources,” said Tracey Beal, Executive Director, School Connect. “Every laptop purchased will enable the students to achieve academic success using the technology they need.”
The Phoenix City Council approved $2 million in CARES Act funding and School Connect received a $1 million donation from Scottsdale Bible Church to purchase the devices. The laptops will become the property of the school districts who will be responsible for creating guidelines for issuing, maintaining and monitoring the student devices.
Laptops were distributed at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Phoenix Convention Center, West Dock Warehouse, 150 N. Fifth St.
Phoenix has implemented a variety of measures to help address the local digital divide, from providing devices to families and seniors in local housing facilities to expanding mobile Wi-Fi access in the community.