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Bridging the Digital Divide: Free Devices Help Students

4J partners with Sprint to provide smartphones and internet access to support student achievement

This is the digital age—and some of our students are facing a digital divide. Eugene School District 4J is partnering with Sprint to help bridge this divide.

As the use of technology has become more integrated into classrooms, the need for students to have internet access has increased. Nearly two-thirds of students use the internet at home to complete their homework and school-related activities. However, many 4J students do not have adequate internet access at home. These students suffer from a “homework gap,” impacting their ability to succeed.

The digital divide also is an obstacle to parent engagement. Many 4J schools and teachers use online grading and communication systems, so parents need internet access to stay informed of their child’s academic progress.

To help support students and parents, a team from Eugene School District 4J researched opportunities and wrote a successful grant for the Sprint 1Million Project.

Over the next five years, 4J will provide free smartphones or other wireless devices and high-speed internet connectivity to eligible high school students, while supplies last. To be eligible, a student must be enrolled in a 4J high school and lack adequate internet access at home.

4J is distributing 300 smartphones to eligible students this school year. In the 2018–19 school year, the district will have an additional 200 devices to distribute to eligible students.

Sprint covers the costs, providing the devices at no cost to the district, and providing service at no charge while the student is enrolled in high school. Students get to keep their phone or other device after they complete high school.

Getting connected is easy! Parents simply fill out an application (English or Español) and return it to the school. For more information, contact your school’s finance office.

For more information about the program, see Sprint 1Million Project.

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