VANCOUVER, Wa. – Students who don't have Wi-Fi at home will get devices to provide that service in a partnership with Vancouver Public Schools and Sprint.

Students take iPads home for homework but those without internet at home are at a disadvantage. For those students, often the only altervative was the local library.

That changes now with a four-year agreement between Sprint and the district.

Hotspots devices worth $97,000 were purchased by the district. In return, Sprint will cover four years of internet access, worth about $1.9 million.

A student who check out a hotspot device keeps it for the school year.

The program is targeted for grades 5 to senior year.

District wide, 274 of the devices have been handed out. There’s a limit of one per family and students must return them at the end of the school year, just as they return their iPads.

Teachers say this is another way the district is leveling the playing-field and giving students the opportunity to succeed.

“Our district has already been really careful about creating wi-fi access for students on things like the bus. They can use the travel time in order to work on homework,” said Discovery Middle School teacher librarian Angela Vahsholtz-Andersen. “But for those students who still have weekend projects, this allows them to do to that.”

The hotspots don’t just benefit the student, she says, but also benefit the student’s family as well. Many connections can be made to a single hotspot.

“They just need access to wi-fi in order to do anything involving searching for jobs, finding out what’s going on in the community, accessing services, and just entertainment, to be a part of the larger community,” said Vahsholtz-Andersen. “This allows the whole family to have access, and that’s really important.”

The district hopes to renew the grant once the four years are up.

Vancouver Public Schools is helping students succeed, thanks to a partnership with Sprint. Students work homework on school-issued iPads. But some families in the district do not have internet at home, making it difficult for those students. Now they can check out a wifi hotspot and keep it for the year, allowing the whole family access to internet at home. VPS paid Sprint about $97,000. In return Sprint will cover 4 years of internet access for the hotspot devices at a value of $1.9 million dollars. More on the story: here: #kgwnews

Posted by KGW's Rachael Rafanelli on Thursday, November 16, 2017