AT&T and leading nonprofit Connected Nation are continuing work to put the connectivity solutions vital to education into the hands of those who need it most.
Three schools and two other nonprofit organizations in Baltimore will receive from Connected Nation more than 800 free hotspots as well as free internet connectivity. They are part of more than 100 organizations and school districts that will benefit from a $10 million commitment first announced last year to provide free internet subscriptions and wireless hotspots to 35,000 vulnerable students across the country.1
Connected Nation has identified the following recipients in Baltimore:
- New Song Academy
- Baltimore International Academy, Inc.
- Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, OrchKids Program
- PCs for People
An estimated 17 million K-12 students nationwide currently lack access to the connectivity and devices required for successful online learning. While this homework gap is not new, the pandemic heightened the challenges — most acutely in rural and under-resourced neighborhoods, where the effects disproportionately impact 1 in 3 students of color, as well as students with disabilities, and roughly 10 percent of all public school teachers.
Whether students are learning remotely or in the classroom, access to affordable high-speed internet and devices is essential for successful learning outcomes.
This support of students in Baltimore is part of AT&T Connected Learning, our multi-year commitment to help stem the tide of learning loss, narrow the homework gap, and create compelling educational content.
What they’re saying:
“By helping to expand connectivity for the students in Baltimore, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap and helping address inequities associated with virtual learning.”
La Tara Harris — Regional Director, AT&T Maryland
“These schools and nonprofits are critical to serving and supporting some of the most at-risk students across Baltimore. By helping to expand connectivity for the students in Baltimore, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap and helping address inequities associated with virtual learning,” said La Tara Harris, Regional Director, AT&T External Affairs-Maryland.
“PCs for People is providing computers to under resourced families as a companion to AT&T and Connected Nation’s ‘Close the Homework Gap’ initiative,” said Gary Bonner, Executive Director, PCs for People. “This effort allows more Baltimore City students to gain access to high speed internet and technology students will use to complete homework assignments and join the digital community.”
“Right now, our internet connection is so bad that my grandson can’t get any service anywhere in the house. He needs a stable connection for school, OrchKids, and his therapy,” said Leona Banks, OrchKids grandparent. “We can’t wait to get the AT&T hotspot from Connected Nation.”
“Getting devices in the hands of students was only the first challenge when we had to close due to COVID. What we quickly realized is that devices without the ability to have a reliable high-speed internet connection at home meant that our goal of keeping all students connected to the school was almost impossible,” said Doug Fireside, Principal, New Song Academy in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore City. “Without the generosity of the collaboration between Connected Nation and AT&T, we would not have been able to keep some of our families on track with their virtual learning. What is most amazing to me is that in traditionally under-resourced schools such as ours, with the support of partners like Connected Nation and AT&T, we now are able to provide all families with devices and reliable high speed internet service at home.”
“These hotspots will be very important to our students and their families to ensure that they can stay connected and not miss out on any learning opportunities,” said Dana Collins, Assistant Principal and Special Education Chairperson, Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.
AT&T is expanding wireless affordability and flexibility for all schools in its service with unlimited wireless data plans that include content filtering services to support online safety protocols.
1 Selected recipients are required to agree to certain terms before receiving Internet subscriptions and wireless hotspots.