Sprint and Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) announced at an event that 630 high school students will receive a free mobile device and free wireless service as part of the 1Million Project Foundation. PPS Superintendent Anthony Hamlet Ed.D. welcomed Rep. Mike Doyle (PA-14) and representatives from Sprint and The Heinz Endowments to Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy this morning where participating students received their devices.
The 1Million Project Foundation launched in August 2017 with a mission to help one million high school students achieve their full potential by ensuring they have the digital tools and connectivity they need to succeed in school. In its first year, the initiative connected 113,000 students across the country, and by the end of the 2018-19 school year, more than 260,000 students total at over 1,700 high schools in 33 states will receive internet access and devices.
“Today’s students need equitable access to essential digital tools and connectivity to succeed in high school,” said Doug Michelman, president of the 1Million Project Foundation. “Those students who are disconnected when they leave school every afternoon should not be at a disadvantage just because their families cannot provide them connectivity at home. With the support of Sprint, a national wireless company, and The Heinz Endowments here in Pittsburgh, we are in a powerful position to do something about this problem by arming eligible students with the critical tools they need to succeed and to believe that they can succeed.”
Right here in the U.S., there are more than five million families with school-aged kids who do not have home internet access.1 Unfortunately, this means that millions of students lack the devices and connectivity needed to have an equal shot at success.
In Pittsburgh, nearly 65 percent of PPS students are considered ’economically disadvantaged’ by the Pennsylvania Department of Education,2 and over 50 percent of households earnings less than $20,000 per year lack a broadband Internet connection in the home.3
“I believe that when students have the access and the tools they need to learn, the entire community benefits,” Congressman Doyle said at today’s event. “I want to commend The Sprint Foundation and the Heinz Endowments for providing these students with devices that will enable them to access the internet.”
“The digitalization of our society means that access to technology is critical if we are going to ensure all students graduate prepared for college, career, and life,” saidSuperintendent Anthony Hamlet Ed.D. “We are grateful to The Heinz Endowments and Sprint 1Million Project Foundation for supporting this step forward in closing the digital divide we know contributes to widening disparities in student achievement.”
The 1Million Project Foundation will distribute devices and provide service to eligible students at the following PPS high schools:
- Brashear High School
- Creative and Performing Arts
- Carrick High School
- Milliones, University Prep School
- Obama Academy of International Studies
- Online Academy
- Perry Traditional Academy
- Science & Technology Academy
- Taylor Allderdice High School
- Westinghouse Academy
Each participating student will receive either a free smartphone, tablet, or hotspot device and 3GB of high-speed LTE data per month for up to four years while they are in high school. Unlimited data is available at 265 kbps speeds if usage exceeds 3GB in a month. Every device has a Free Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliant content filter to block adult content and malware. Students who receive a smartphone receive unlimited voice and text while on the Sprint network and may also use it as a hotspot.
In a survey of those who participated in the first year of the program, the vast majority of students (84%) said the 1Million Project made it easier for them to complete more of their homework in a comfortable, convenient, and safe place. Looking forward, 74% said they are more willing to work hard to graduate from high school. And, 68% said they are more likely to go to college. Administrators reported improved attitudes toward learnings, homework completion rates and school attendance among students.
Schools or districts who want to apply for the third year of the program, which begins with the 2019-2020 school year, can visit www.1millionproject.org to learn more. Applicants will receive a response by spring 2019.