EPISD high-school students will now have access to high-speed Internet wherever they go thanks to to Sprint’s 1million Project, which will provide 1,350 WiFi devices to the District.
“In partnership with Sprint, this program will allow students who don’t have Internet connectivity to have it at home,” said Jason Long, EPISD executive director of innovation, design and development. “This will allow students to do their schoolwork from home or wherever they are.
Each high school received a list of eligible students based on the free and reduced-priced lunch program. These students took a survey to determine if they qualified for the 1Million Project.
“Everyone deserves access to technology because in my mind technology is the great equalizer. We have WiFi at the schools, but we want to make sure students have access to wi-fi at home,” superintendent Juan Cabrera said. “This is going to do amazing things for our students.”
The devices will be housed in the school library, where qualifying students can check them out. Each device is CIPA compliant and provides 3G of data per month. Along with Internet access, Sprint has teamed up with the College Board and Khan Academy to provide SAT prep for all EPISD students.
Silva Health Magnet rolled out the red carpet Wednesday morning to welcome representatives from Sprint, decking the halls with ‘thank you’ signs. Each qualifying student received their own hotspot hub and instructions how to pair with their District-issued MacBook.
Sophomore Diego Sanchez won’t have to worry about having access to the Internet for the next few years. He will be able to keep the device the remainder of his time at Silva – even over summer breaks.
“I am excited. This is a really great thing for us,” he said. “It’s going to help me with my homework and school projects. I have been using my cellphone to do research, and it’s difficult to see things on the smaller screen.”
Junior Destinee Portillo is happy she won’t have to go across town anymore to use her cousin’s Internet service when she has an online assignment to complete.
“I think this is super awesome because honestly I have a lot of problems doing my homework because I don’t have WiFi at home, but I have all the tools I need now with my laptop and the hotspot,” she said. “There’s nothing that will stop me now.”
The hotspot will also benefit her sister, who is a sixth-grader at Terrace Hills Middle School.
“My sister and I are going to be able to use the Internet because all our homework is online,” Portillo said. “Big thank you to Sprint. It’s such a big help not just to me but everyone else in school as well.”