HOUSTON – Sept. 9, 2020 – During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Spring ISD Board of Trustees, Spring ISD Education Foundation President Ken Grays presented a check representing a $15,000 grant awarded through the Education Foundation of Harris County’s Partners in Education grant program. The grant – for the purchase of mobile Wi-Fi hotspots – will provide more than 60 district families with reliable home internet access so that students can make the most of Spring ISD’s Empowered Learning At-Home curriculum during the 2020-21 school year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, with social distancing, has presented a major need here within our district. We were made aware of the technology deficiency within the district and the need for hotspots for families,” Grays said. “We set out to try to do our best to try to rectify that, and in cooperation with the Harris County Education Foundation, we were able to secure a grant for $15,000 that would be able to fully support 63 hotspots and a year’s worth of service of each of those hotspots.”
According to Spring ISD Education Foundation Executive Director Sandra Harper Scott, the grant proposal was drafted by the foundation in cooperation with the district’s technology department, which provided data on connectivity rates among district families as well as guidance on how the funds could most effectively be used to impact student outcomes.
“We wanted to be able to close the digital divide, which is a reality impacting many of our students,” said Harper Scott. “We wanted them to be able to learn remotely if their families made that choice, so that’s how we formulated the grant.”
The Partners in Education grant program is administered by the Education Foundation of Harris County and sponsored by Harris County Department of Education (HCDE). The partnership helps fund programs in schools and districts across the region, according to Steven David, who serves on the board of the Education Foundation of Harris County and also addressed Spring ISD trustees during Tuesday’s meeting.
“As you all know, HCDE exists to support the districts across Harris County, and we’re thrilled that the Education Foundation of Harris County partnership has allowed us to find yet another way to help our local districts through the Partners in Education program,” he said.
The district will focus the hotspot distribution on families with high school students, helping to ensure as many students as possible remain on track to graduate. By strategically targeting families with multiple students in the district, Grays and Harper Scott emphasized that the foundation hopes to expand the impact to help provide adequate internet access to as many students as possible.
“It can be a significant household expense, and when you’re trying to make a house payment or a rent payment, sometimes internet access just becomes a luxury you can’t afford,” said Harper Scott. “Now more than ever, we wanted to do something to support those families, and support those students in their learning.”