By Claire Tadokoro
In the age of online innovation and education, one foundation is to thank for providing internet access to 100 students in the Lee’s Summit School District.
The move will enable students without home internet access to complete schoolwork and communicate with teachers from the safety and comfort of their homes, instead of needing to venture out on school nights to find public Wi-Fi.
The 1Million Foundation Project, which was credited in a recent Kansas City Star article for providing wireless hotspots to the LSR-7 students, is going above and beyond for students across the nation.
Their ultimate goal is in the very name of the organization.
“Sprint launched year one of the 1Million Project Foundation in August 2017 with a mission to help one million high school students achieve their full potential by ensuring they have the connectivity they need to succeed in school,” said Thomas Wiley, a School Implementation Lead for the 1Million Project Foundation.
“Right here in the U.S., there are more than five million families with school-aged kids who do not have home internet access. Unfortunately, this means that millions of students lack the devices and connectivity needed to have an equal shot at success.”
In addition to the hotspots, Lee’s Summit students may receive a free smartphone, tablet, a Children’s Internet Protection Act compliant content filter, unlimited domestic calls and texts (subject to district limitations), and up to four years of wireless service while in a participating high school.
In just the first year, the 1Million Project Foundation connected 113,000 students to the internet. This impacted over 1,500 schools in 31 states.
“By the end of the 2018-19 school year, we will provide internet access and devices to more than 220,000 students at 1,800 schools in over 160 school districts in 33 states,” said Wiley. “These are major accomplishments on our journey to close the homework gap for one million students who need our help.”
While some may recall their own time as students without the need of internet, or even its existence, it’s important to realize that time has passed for the nations’ current students and future leaders.
“Our world is so technology driven now… A lot of the homework the kids have to do, a lot of the resources now, the tutoring, the extra help (is online),” said Lee’s Summit North High School counselor Shelley McCain in the Kansas City Star article. “We’re expecting kids to have that access.”
In a statement the district released, they emphasized their belief that all high school students should have reliable, mobile high-speed Internet access to achieve their full potential in our community.
“Our district’s participation in the 1Million Project is an additional step towards closing our district’s access, opportunity and homework gaps,” read the statement.
Sprint, said Wiley, is up to the challenge.
“As a national wireless company, Sprint is in a powerful position to do something about this problem,” he said. “That’s why Sprint has committed to provide more than $1.5 billion worth of high-speed mobile network access. And, thanks to our device partners and donors, we are able to provide free mobile devices and infrastructure to deserving students. No other carrier or organization is working to close the homework gap on a nationwide scale like the 1Million Project Foundation.”
To learn more about their mission and how you can help, visit 1millionproject.org.