MOUNT VERNON – The Mount Vernon City School District will provide 300 students with devices and free high-speed Internet access through Sprint’s “1Million Project.”
“Ensuring that our students have the tools they need to succeed is a top priority for the District,” said Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, Mount Vernon City School District Superintendent. “By participating in the 1Million Project, we are able to provide 300 students with access to the internet, a resource that has become increasingly more important for them to complete coursework and to excel academically.”
According to the project’s website, 70 percent of America’s high school teachers assign homework that requires Internet access, but more than 5 million families with school-aged children do not have reliable Internet connectivity at home. As a result, students are unable to complete their homework from home, search for jobs, or apply to colleges or for financial aid.
Mount Vernon is one of 120 school districts across the U.S. participating in the first year of Sprint’s “1Million Project,” a five-year program that seeks to provide free high-speed Internet access to one million students across the county, giving them the resources they need to achieve their full academic potential.
Since its launch in August 2017, 1Million Project has provided devices and Internet access to 120 eligible students at Mount Vernon High School, Nellie A. Thornton High School and Nelson Mandela High School. Students received their devices at the District’s holiday concert last month.
In order to qualify for a free phone, students must demonstrate a lack of access to the Internet at home by completing a form, which students’ parents are required to sign before District processes their applications.
Qualifying students receive a free cell phone with 3GB of high-speed LTE data to use per month, as well as a text and calling plan that lasts for four years or until the student graduates high school. After graduation, students are able to keep their devices.
“As teachers increasingly adopt online curriculum tools, it’s important that we as a District seek to provide digital equity to our students beyond the school day,” said Joseph McGrath, Administrator for Technology for the Mount Vernon City School District. “We started by inviting our ninth graders to apply for the 1Million Project so that we could ensure long-term benefits through the program and are now offering it to all high school students.”
By the end of the 2017-2018 school year, 300 high school students will have received a free cell phone and access to the Internet.
Every year for the next five years, 300 high school students will be selected to receive a free cell phone, data, texting and calling plan powered by Sprint. Qualifying students are selected on a first come, first serve basis.
“Here at the 1Million Project, we believe all students are curious, want a bright future and are willing to work hard to earn it. We also believe having Internet access at home means more time to learn, imagine, create, accomplish and graduate,” the 1Million Project website stated.