New York City announced it is teaming up with Google and Sprint to provide thousands of public school kids with Free Wi-Fi in their homes.
The program will be open to any family that has children in public school and no internet access at home.
It will be run by the city's library system, and applicants must have no outstanding fines on their library cards in order to take part in this project.
The City plans to launch this new service on October 1st.
The Library HotSpot program started as a small pilot by The New York Public Library (NYPL) which serves the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island, in December 2014 to help close the digital divide and address the needs of over 2 million New Yorkers who do not have access to broadband internet at home. In April of 2015, the program grew, and the City’s three library systems partnered with the City and Google to loan hotspots at branches across the City.
The initiative, the next round of the Library HotSpot program, will launch in 46 library branches across the City, primarily in high-need neighborhoods with low internet connectivity. The branches, which are run by the Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Library, and New York Public Library’s in Harlem and uptown include:
115th Street Library
125th Street Library
Countee Cullen Library
Fort Washington Library
George Bruce Library
Hamilton Grange Library
Macomb’s Bridge Library
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Washington Heights Library
are all located near DOE Community Schools.
Community Schools are neighborhood hubs where students receive high-quality academic instruction, families can access social services, and communities congregate to share resources and address their common challenges. This program recognizes that in order for a student to succeed in school, we need to eliminate the learning barriers to ensure equity and excellence for all families. Community Schools support students, engage families, and strengthen communities from all sides; integrating academics, health, youth development, and family engagement and providing access to critical programs and services like vision screening, mentoring, expanded learning programs, adult education, mental health counseling and internet access, which directly support a student’s learning.
Eligibility to borrow one of the 5,000 free hotspots, which are powered by Sprint as part of the White House’s ConnectED Initiative, extends to City residents who are over 18, report no internet at home, report having at least one public school student in grades pre-K through 12, have a fine-free library card, and attend a lending event at one of the participating branches. There is a limit of one hotspot per family and the hotspots are loaned for one year. While qualifying families can have students in any public school, the program will target students at Community Schools by coordinating outreach with Community School partners, parent coordinators, and school leaders. Library staff will hold information sessions and lending events in targeted Community Schools.
“We’re committed to Equity and Excellence for all New York City students, and this will help create expanded opportunities for students to complete homework, research, and thrive outside of school,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Partnerships are a cornerstone of Community Schools and I am pleased that all three library systems have joined forces with our schools in support of their students and families. This initiative will be available for all students and families, and we encourage them to take advantage of this resource.”
“As technology continues to advance, there are several communities that remain disconnected. A reliable Internet connection has become a basic necessity to all: an essential tool in a child’s educational journey. I applaud Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, our three library systems and Google on establishing a robust ConnectED initiative. It’s imperative for families to have access to the Internet, because it is as vital at home as it is in our classrooms and libraries. This initiative will provide a critical amenity to our City’s greatest assets – our students,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.
CLICK HERE to find out more about this program.
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