Kennedy High School narrows the digital divide

on September 19, 2014

While many students take computers and all the learning advantages they bring for granted, few students at Kennedy High School have that luxury. 86% of students attending the school come from low-income families for whom the price of a home computer is simply too high. This so-called digital divide contributes to the academic achievement gap that often impacts poor and students of color.

For 65 Kennedy High students that will change at the end of this month when they receive free laptops courtesy of a $100,000 grant from the Sprint Corporation.

This is an example of the Dell laptop that the Sprint grant will provide for 65 students from Kennedy High School. Photo by Hannah Lawson

Under Sprint’s Project Connection, the students will be provided with a Dell laptop and a free Internet connection in their home. “Students without the economic means to fully participate in the digital realm can be at a severe disadvantage in working toward a better future,” said Sprint’s Ralph Reid, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Project Connection was created by Sprint to help fund technology-related programs. The grant is limited to students who do not already own a computer, and who are entering the 11th grade this fall.

Kennedy assistant principal Allison Huie said the grant will have a “far-reaching” impact by giving students the opportunity to do classwork and research on colleges and potential careers at home for the first time. “All of the things that students would normally have to find time during the school day to do on a school computer in the library or in an open computer lab after school, they will now have the opportunity to do at home.”

Assistant principal Huie adds that the laptops will benefit entire families. Both students and their parents will be asked to participate in training sessions on basic uses and Internet security. These evening sessions, created in agreement with Contra Costa College, will also give students the opportunity to earn college credit.

“The world is shifting towards a more advanced educational environment when it comes to technology,” said Kennedy High computer applications teacher La Rue Moore. “If we don’t teach our students with that same type of environment then they will not be able to compete.”

 

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