Research shows that 5 million U.S. families with school-aged children do not have internet access at home, but 70 percent of teachers assign homework that requires web access, creating a “homework gap” that puts these students at a disadvantage academically. A new project, supported by Sprint, is being tested in Providence to help close this gap.

Sprint, the communications company, and the Sprint Foundation have started the 1Million Project, a multi-year initiative to foster academic success for one million low-income students across the country by providing them with reliable connectivity to complete their school assignments from home. As part of the project, 250 Providence public high school students will receive a free mobile device and free wireless connectivity.

Providence was chosen as one of 11 1Million Project pilot markets which will benefit high school students in Brockton, MA, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Paterson, NJ, San Diego and other cities. The pilot program will run through the end of the 2017 school year. Feedback will be applied in preparation for a nationwide program rollout at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Schools and school districts who want to apply to the program can visit www.sprint.com/1million project for more information.

The pilot program was kicked off at Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School on January 27. Mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza, PPSD Superintendent Christopher N. Maher and local Sprint executives were on hand as participating students receive their smartphone, tablet or hotspot.

“We know that students who have access to technology after school leverage that technology in countless ways in order to explore their world and to engage in active learning,” said PPSD Superintendent Christopher Maher. “The students who have limited access to technology, unfortunately, can be left behind on the wrong side of the digital divide. Sprint’s incredibly gracious and forward-thinking gift today has helped many of our lower-income students bridge that divide. Now they have the tools they need, when they need them.”

Anyone looking to support the program can visit www.sprint.com/give1mp to make a donation via credit card.1 Sprint stores continue to accept monetary and device donations. Used mobile devices can also be donated online.2 Devices will be recycled or resold with net proceeds benefiting the 1Million Project. Visit www.sprint.com/1millionproject for more information, and follow and support the program on social media by using the hashtag #1MillionProject.

“The statistics are staggering, but even more powerful are the stories we hear from disadvantaged students about their efforts to find connectivity to keep up with their school assignments when they don’t have home internet access,” said Gabriel Torres, Sprint’s Regional President for New England. “Everyone at Sprint is committed to this important initiative, and I am proud to join our Providence 1Million Project pilot kick off as the first 125 students from Alvarez High School receive their mobile devices today.”

“Expanding access to technology for education so that our students are ready for the jobs of tomorrow is a top priority for my administration,” said Mayor Elorza. “I thank Sprint for their partnership in helping us connect our students to the 21st-century tools they need to succeed and look forward to working with them to continue to support our schools.”

Providence Public School District is the largest school district in Rhode Island, operating 41 schools, and serving more than 24,000 students and their families. Providence Public School District serves a diverse student body where more than 65 percent of students are Hispanic or Latino.

Since its establishment in 1989, the Sprint Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Sprint) has provided millions of dollars to community organizations across the country. A separate legal entity from Sprint, the Sprint Foundation is able to make a huge impact where it is needed most, supporting hundreds of organizations every year that focus on education, arts and culture, youth development, community development, and disaster relief. For more information visit sprint.com/goodworks.

1 Cash donations for the 1Million Project are tax-deductible charitable contributions to the Sprint Foundation.

2 Device donations are not tax deductible. Net proceeds from reselling/recycling donated devices or $1 per device, whichever is greater, will be donated to the program.

 

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