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RCSD to Provide Free Home Internet Access to Eligible 9th - 12th Grade Students

(June 11, 2019) The Rochester City School District is proud to announce that starting in September 2019, it will offer free home internet access to students in grades 9 – 12 who don't already have the access. This is being made possible through the 1Million Project Foundation, a non-profit group that uses the Sprint PCS network to help students achieve their full potential by giving them devices and free high-speed, mobile internet access. 
Students will be able to take home their District-issued Chromebooks with new hardware from the 1Million Project Foundation in order to obtain internet access. The service will be available to students through all four years of high school. Students will be surveyed at the beginning of the 2019 school year, to determine the hardware and internet access needs. 
Superintendent Daniel G. Lowengard said, “The District has a firm belief that every student should have internet access both at home and at school, and this partnership brings us one step closer to this goal.”
This project could impact as many as 8,000 students in the District. There is no charge to parents or the student, and no personal information about families or students will be captured while they participate in the program. Students will not be able to access inappropriate content as every device has a filter that is compliant with the Free Children’s Internet Protection Act.
Parents will receive a letter this summer explaining the program and their eligibility. The goal of this initiative is to help eliminate the homework gap for one million high school students across the country. The District hopes parents and children will see the academic benefits of this opportunity.   
This project coincides with an event sponsored by the New York State Education Department and New York State Curriculum for Advanced Technological Education. The District is participating in a Create-A-Thon on Tuesday, June 11 and Wednesday, June 12. Students in grades 6-8 will be sharing ideas for improving access and equity in education. The students will be developing and showcasing their innovative and creative solutions utilizing technology. 
Students from George Mather Forbes School No. 4 and Helen Barrett Montgomery School No. 50 will be presenting information to a panel of judges from the New York State Education Department specifically on Chromebook home use for the 2019 – 2020 school year. They surveyed students in grades 9 - 12 on this issue as part of the Create-A-Thon. 
Out of 110 responses, 90 percent of students said they would use a Chromebook at home for homework, 79 percent said classwork, and 66 percent said they would use a Chromebook at home for research. This data further demonstrates the need for reliable internet access at home.