With some New York City (NYC) public schools temporarily continuing to distance learn, Verizon is supporting efforts to bridge the digital divide in the nation’s largest school district with a $43 million commitment to enable more students to learn digitally.
Verizon is supporting the district’s ongoing efforts to provide remote learning tools by donating 20,000 mobile hotspots to students who face barriers to internet and technology access in NYC Department of Education (DOE) schools, facilitated in partnership with the Fund for Public Schools, as well as providing grant funding to several education nonprofit organizations to enable continued STEM education.
These initiatives are in addition to 15 NYC public schools joining Verizon Innovative Learning, the company’s education initiative focused on bridging the digital divide. Together, these efforts are part of Verizon’s continued commitment to Digital Inclusion, a key pillar under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement.
“The hotspot donation, our commitment to work with local non-profits to benefit students and the expansion of our Verizon Innovative Learning Schools initiative further demonstrates our commitment to Verizon’s home city,” said Anthony Lewis, Region Vice President of State Government Affairs at Verizon. “Our students need connectivity to enable learning from home, and we are proud to step up and be part of the solution.”
“Thank you to Verizon for boosting our efforts to support our City’s public school students and their families in this critical moment,” said Julie L. Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Public Schools. “Your donation will go towards the NYC Department of Education’s essential work of ensuring students have the resources they need to succeed – no matter where they are learning.”
Hotspot donation for students
Verizon is donating Orbic Speed mobile hotspots equipped with 30GB per /month of Internet access to support remote learning for 20,000 under-resourced students in NYC DOE schools. The donation, facilitated through a partnership with the Fund for Public Schools, will help ensure students who have a school-issued tablet or laptop but lack reliable home internet access can continue to learn digitally while some school buildings are temporarily closed due to COVID-19. The data plans on the mobile hotspots will be available until August 2022.
Nonprofit grants to support STEM education
Also because of COVID-19, Verizon is supporting STEM education through grant funding to education nonprofit organizations benefiting the most vulnerable K-8 students across NYC’s five boroughs.
The grants will enable over 15,000 students to access online resources including 3D design and virtual reality tools, mentorship opportunities, programming on digital literacy, game design coding, social justice in-class activities and much more. The organizations receiving programmatic grants from Verizon include: Bronxworks, CAMBA, DIVAS for Social Justice, Grand Street Settlement, Hypothekids, NY Public Library, Phipps and STEM Kids NYC.
Verizon Innovative Learning
Fifteen NYC Title I public middle schools in four boroughs recently joined the Verizon Innovative Learning program, and are among 111 new schools to join for the 2020-21 school year, bringing the program to 264 middle and high schools nationwide.
Verizon Innovative Learning, in partnership with education nonprofit Digital Promise, provides schools participating in the program with 1:1 devices equipped with Internet access, technology-driven STEM curriculum and teacher training, helping to keep students connected during the transition to distance learning this year. As students, parents and teachers across the country look for support to alleviate the stress of remote education, Verizon is continuing to triple the amount of data for all Verizon Innovative Learning schools, from 10GB to 30GB per month.
Verizon’s continued commitment to Digital Inclusion
These initiatives build upon Verizon’s efforts to help under-resourced communities bridge the digital divide. Since 2012, Verizon Innovative Learning has helped to close the digital divide by providing 450,000 students across the country with connectivity, technology and an immersive STEM curriculum, investing over $535M in market value towards STEM education.
All K-12 educators across the nation can now access Teacher Training Pathways, a free platform offering courses to help teachers become more efficient and effective in delivering technology-integrated instruction, and the STEM Activity Center, an online toolkit that provides STEM resources and hands-on activities that introduce K-12 students to new skills within augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D design and more.
Verizon and The New York Times are continuing to offer all Verizon Innovative Learning teachers access to curated educational content from The Times’s Learning Network, as well as all free access for students and teachers in high schools across the U.S. to NYTimes.com through September 1, 2021. The Verizon Distance Learning Program, developed in response to COVID-19 to provide reliable, affordable Internet connections and solutions, is now available for more than 38 million students across 40 states and the District of Columbia.