Obama Elementary students receive free hotspots and wireless service from Sprint.

Today, DeKalb County School District (DCSD) was joined by representatives from Sprint to announce that 200 third and fourth grade students from Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology will have a new way to keep up with their school work. By providing free connectivity through Wi-Fi hotspots, Sprint will help the students stay connected at-home over the next five years.

Research shows that more than five million families with school-age kids do not have internet connectivity at home. Without home internet connectivity, success will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. In the state of Georgia, about 60 percent of the students live in low income households and qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch.

“Helping students become college and career ready means maximizing learning time both inside and outside the classroom. This partnership with Sprint is vital because it will allow students to access their homework and learning resources more easily and effectively, while working at home,” said R. Stephen Green, superintendent of eKalb County School District. “This expanded learning opportunity will help students keep on pace with their lessons, and support long-term achievement. This is one more obstacle to success that has been removed for our students. Through this partnership we are closing the digital divide.”

Today’s announcement is part of Sprint’s pledge in 2014 to provide wireless broadband to 50,000 K-12 students in low-income school districts across the country as part of former President Obama’s White House initiative, ConnectED – a public and private effort to get technology into classrooms and into the hands of teachers and students to help bridge the “digital divide.”

“Learning should never consist of interruptions or inconvenience but yet many kids in Atlanta do not have internet access at home and unfortunately have to find other alternatives for connectivity just to get assignments done,” said Brian Miller, Sprint president for Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. “It’s our goal that for some of the students at this DeKalb County elementary school Sprint will eliminate the need for them stay late into the evening at school or to go to a place of business with public Wi-Fi. With these devices, we are closing the homework gap for 200 students here in Georgia.”

Inspired by the ConnectED initiative, Sprint announced the 1Million Project last year to provide 1 million free devices and wireless service to eligible schools and school districts for their low-income high school students who do not have home internet access. With the 1Million Project, Sprint is building on its experience with the ConnectED and My Brother’s Keeper initiatives to give students the tools they need to translate their efforts into meaningful outcomes. DeKalb County School District has applied for the Sprint 1Million Project. Schools accepted into the program will be announced prior to the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

The value of Sprint’s wireless service for the 200 DeKalb County elementary students during the five-year term is estimated at $480,000.

To view photos from the event, click here.