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Bridging the Digital Divide to Support All Kids

Feb. 22, 2018
 
DPS students and educators discuss bridging the digital divide.
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Pictured from left to right: DPS MyTech Program Director Kirk Anderson, North High School Principal Scott Wolf and Arbay, a North High freshman, Denver Board of Education Member Lisa Flores and DPS Chief Operating Officer David Suppes.

Denver Public Schools is helping students and families access the internet through the MyTech program and the generosity of community partners.

Many families are unable to afford home internet, creating an opportunity gap for some students. MyTech, which provides students in 14 DPS schools with one-to-one technology thanks to $10 million in bond funds, looked to community partners to identify options for providing internet access to families.

Thursday, DPS celebrated the MyTech program and several partner organizations that have made generous donations to help connect Denver families to the internet at little or no cost. The Sprint 1Million Project, which aims to close the internet and opportunity gap for 1 million high school students across the country, has donated more than 500 Wi-Fi hotspots. These hotspots, along with the monthly service fee for a year, are provided to students from low-income families at participating MyTech schools who do not have internet access at home. This equates to a roughly $110,000 donation to DPS students.

“The MyTech computer and internet access has helped me get ahold of my teachers quickly and access class work efficiently,” said Arbay, a freshman at North High School. “I would not have had internet access at home without this Wi-Fi hotspot provided to me. I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

Comcast has also offered Internet Essentials, a program for low-income families that offers high-speed internet access at home for just $10 per month, low-cost computer equipment and digital literacy classes. Comcast indicates that in Denver, approximately 10,700 students and families have already connected to low-cost, high-speed internet.

Additionally, DPS has partnered with CenturyLink for several technology grants. Last year, grants were awarded to West Leadership Academy for iPads, updated LEGO Mindstorms EV3s, headphones and printers to aid in the STEM robotics courses and enrichment programs. A grant was also awarded to Traylor Academy for 15 Chromebooks for the classroom as well as for the teacher to attend a four-day training institute. This year, CenturyLink also set aside $80,000 for grants to teachers in the Denver metro area.

By providing DPS students with technology tools, the MyTech program and its charitable partners aim to bridge the digital divide by providing equitable access to the internet and ensure students graduate with the digital skills necessary to succeed in college, career and life.