Five hundred city high school students will receive internet connected smartphones and tablets through Sprint’s 1Million Project pilot initiative aimed at closing the homework gap.
These devices will come with 3 GB of high-speed LTE data per month. Students who exceed that monthly high speed data threshold will receive unlimited data through a slower 2G connection.
“Too many students in America lack internet access at home and are falling behind in school and in life. We couldn’t be more excited and honored to work with these amazing institutions to launch the pilot program and start helping disadvantaged students reach their full potential,” said Doug Michelman, senior vice president of corporate communications at Sprint.
400 city students will receive smartphones and another 100 will receive tablets. The program targets high school students beginning in ninth grade and allows them to take advantage of the devices for the four years of high school.
More than 100 applications were received for the pilot program. Paterson was among 11 school districts, high schools, and nonprofit to be selected to participate in the program.
Other school districts selected were: Kansas City Public Schools, Kansas City, MO; Pomona Unified School District, Pomona, CA; Providence Public Schools, Providence, RI; and San Diego Unified School District, San Diego, CA.
High schools selected were Brockton High School, Brockton, MA; Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Global Collegiate Academy, Dallas, TX; Lake Worth Community High School, Lake Worth, FL; West Charlotte High School, Charlotte, NC; and Youth Connection Charter School, Chicago, IL.
One nonprofit organization – Teen Services Department at Park Forest, IL — was also selected for the pilot program. 4,000 internet connected devices will be distributed to students as part of the pilot program to close the homework gap, where students without home internet access have a tougher time completing homework assignments compared to those with home internet.
“Since we announced the 1Million Project, we’ve received an incredible amount of outreach from schools across the country that need help,” said Michelman. Participating students receive smartphones, tablets, and hotspot devices. Those who receive smartphones can use it as a hotspot and for unlimited phone calls and texts.
The pilot program run by Sprint and Sprint Foundation will begin in January 2017. After completion of the pilot program, schools will be invited to join the multi-year initiative when it rolls out throughout the country for the 2017-18 school year, according to Sprint.
The pilot will help Sprint learn about students’ needs in differing markets and schools revealing best practices for communicating with program participants. This will be applied in its nationwide roll out in the next school year with the hope of enrolling 1 million high school students into the program to receive wireless devices and data service for four years in high school.
The Paterson Public Schools will work with Sprint over the next few weeks to determine students in which high schools will receive the devices and data service based on immediate needs.