Despite the rain, Flint Community Schools families were able to pick up laptops and WiFi hotspots from Potter Elementary School Thursday, May 14.
Much of the technology was made available through a $163,000 Charles Stewart Mott Foundation grant to purchase items needed to deliver educational content to its students through remote learning. This funded the purchase of 800 mobile WiFi hot spots and 1,500 Mobile Guard applications, which provide content filtering while students are online.
The hotspots will help expand internet access so more Flint students can participate in educational opportunities while schools are closed, according to the district.
A Chromebook and hot spot will be provided to all students who have indicated a need.
“This technology is necessary to ensure students are still learning and part of a community even when they can’t physically be in a classroom,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “We know an access gap exists, and we hope this grant gets us a step closer to eliminating it.”
Interim Superintendent Anita Steward recently presented a distance learning plan for Flint students while school buildings are closed under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order.
Implementation of the plan is already underway. Families in need of these additional devices will be contacted directly by the district regarding pickup information.
“School buildings may be closed for the remainder of the school year, but educating our students and personally connecting with them each day remains our priority,” Steward said. “We are incredibly grateful for the support of community partners like the Mott Foundation. During these challenging times, we will continue to explore opportunities to ensure our students have access to learning materials necessary for their academic growth.”
Students and families are being contacted twice each week, at minimum—once by a teacher for learning support and once by a Wellness Team member for social emotional support, according to the district.
The Crim Fitness Foundation and YouthQuest are also providing a daily Mindfulness video and/or physical education activities for students, accessible through the Flint Community Schools website.
“During these challenging times, we will continue to explore opportunities to ensure our students have access to learning materials necessary for their academic growth and seek out additional partnerships to benefit the children we are privileged to serve,” Steward said.
Families are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if they have not connected the district already.