Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ (VBCPS) Title I and Title IV programs have partnered together and used grant funds to provide 132 families reliable internet access through free mobile hotspots
“We’re focused on developing technology-rich lessons as part of the division’s strategic plan,” said Cristina Alsop, director of Title I programs. “Using digital learning, students can collaborate on documents and communicate with their teachers in and out of the classroom.”
The Kajeet SmartSpot mobile hotspots will help digital equity across the division and allow students unable to afford dependable internet to have equal access needed for completing homework, communicating with teachers and applying for jobs, scholarships or college.
Additionally, Alsop hopes the hotspots will equally engage parents who will have the ability to check student grades and keep up with school activities and assignments using Parent Portal, Schoology and other online educational resources.
“As we become an increasingly digital society, both parents and students really need to be familiar with today’s tools to be a full participant,” said Alsop.
The hotspots will not only ensure families are able to access the web, but access it safely.
The Kajeet devices’ education-only filtering technology will work in conjunction with, Securly Parent Portal, a web-filtering tool the division added once accomplishing the 1:1 initiative. The 1:1 initiative provides each student with a Chromebook or laptop, but if the student’s home doesn’t have access to reliable internet the students may not be able to complete the designated assignments, said Robinson.
“Every student in the division has access to computers at school, and students in fifth through grade 12 can bring their devices home,” said Alsop. “The hotspots paired with school laptops give students online access outside school hours for homework. Otherwise, those without the hotspot at home could fall behind in classes, especially high school students in Advanced Placement or Dual Enrollment classes.”
“The goal for the division Title I and Title IV programs,” adds Robinson, “is to have a safe and level learning field for all students during and after school hours.”