Cypress Park High School students open the boxes and turn on their new HP Slate 8-inch tablets Sept. 18 during “Activation Day” at the campus. Thanks to a grant and donation from Sprint and its 1Million Project Foundation, 1,500 Cypress Park students who didn’t have access to reliable, high-speed internet now do with the tablets and data plans through the August following their high school graduation. CFISD and Cypress Park administrators were on hand as the first 70 tablets were distributed to students.
CYPRESS — Thanks to a generous grant and donation from Sprint and its 1Million Project Foundation, approximately 80 percent of students at Cypress Park High School who needed reliable, high-speed internet access outside of the educational environment will now have that opportunity.
The first phase of distributing 1,500 HP Slate 8-inch tablets to students began Sept. 18 in the Cypress Park library, where CFISD and campus administrators joined Christine Powell, the foundation’s school implementation lead, and Cypress Park campus instructional coach Brianne Neil, who helped spearhead the project. Then, nearly 70 students received their tablets, starting the first phase of distribution.
Approximately 550 tablets were distributed between Sept. 18-19.
Cypress Park High School English teacher Lindsay Lombardi assists junior Jordi Diaz with his HP Slate 8-inch tablet. Diaz was among the first 70 Cypress Park students who took part in the first phase of distribution at the school for the 1,500 tablets that were donated by Sprint and its 1Million Project Foundation. Neil, a former teacher at Cypress Park, said she realized that students’ limited access to technology ultimately dictated classroom instruction.
“Often, I’d be planning lessons and think, ‘If I only had more technology for my kids or if my kids had more access to this,’ I could do so many more things,” Neil said. “I’d have kids come and tell me that they couldn’t do that assignment last night because the internet wasn’t on or it was too slow. So when I moved into my current position last year, I just got online and started searching…how I could get more technology.”
Dr. Mark Henry (left), CFISD superintendent of schools, poses with Chris Hecker (right), Cypress Park High School principal, and Christine Powell, 1Million Project Foundation school implementation lead, on Sept. 18 at Cypress Park. Dr. Henry holds one of the 1,500 HP Slate 8-inch tablets that were gifted to Cypress Park students through Sprint and the foundation, with the first 70 distributed to students at a ceremony in the library. The foundation’s ultimate goal is helping 1 million high school students “achieve their full potential by ensuring they have the digitals tools and connectivity they need to succeed in school.”
Neil found the 1Million Project Foundation.
The foundation launched the program in August 2017 with an ultimate goal of helping 1 million high school students “achieve their full potential by ensuring they have the digital tools and connectivity they need to succeed in school.” The tablets and high-speed internet connection are provided at no cost to the students thanks to foundation partners and donors, while Sprint has committed to providing more than $1.5 billion worth of high-speed mobile network access.
The value of the Cypress Park donation for the 2018-2019 school year is approximately $540,000, a figure that could increase annually as the program will be eligible for additional device donations and accompanying data plans.
Tablets are gifts to the individual students. The data plans and content filters run through the August following a student’s graduation.
“Today’s students need equitable access to essential digital tools and connectivity to succeed in high school,” said Doug Michelman, president of the 1Million Project Foundation. “Those students who are disconnected when they leave school every afternoon should not be at a disadvantage just because their families cannot provide them connectivity at home. With the support of Sprint, a national wireless company, we are in a powerful position to do something about this problem by arming eligible students with the critical tools they need to succeed and to believe that they can succeed.”
In preparation of project implementation, Cypress Park administrators surveyed students to determine need and accessibility to technology. The results showed roughly 1,500 of the 1,900 students (nearly 80 percent) at the campus demonstrated a lack of appropriate access to essential digital tools outside of the educational environment.
Cypress Park High School administrators surveyed students to determine need and accessibility to technology and reliable, high-speed internet, finding that approximately 80 percent showed a need. Through a grant and donation from Sprint and its 1Million Project Foundation, 1,500 Cypress Park students were gifted HP Slate 8-inch tablets with data plans that run through the August following the student’s high school graduation.
“One of the things here at Cypress Park is we want to give our kids every opportunity to be successful,” said Chris Hecker, Cypress Park principal. “This opportunity became available with Sprint and we were just lucky enough to be involved with it. What we found out is roughly 80 percent of our kids needed this service to further their education because we know we’re moving toward everything being online and different access points they could have for their research and development.
“Now, Sprint has filled in this major gap for our kids so that they can have access not only at home and have free internet and free connectivity, but also here at school.”
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