Mehlville School District Bridges Gaps with ITEF Grant
ITEF makes grants that support teachers, students and their communities. Here’s one educator’s perspective on how our use of the Educational Broadband Spectrum bridges access gaps.
In 2015, the Mehlville School District became a Substantial Use Partner of the Innovative Technology Education Fund (ITEF), which provided funding and access to their broadband signal to support students enrolled in our Online and Virtual Programs. This partnership allowed us to break down one of the most difficult barriers that exist when delivering our curriculum, access.
For far too many of our students, equity of resources is the determining factor whether they succeed or fail. Internet access is essential to our program, and those students who did not have consistent access to the internet in a safe, secure location, often fell behind in their classes, struggling to catch up.
The benefits of this partnership had a positive impact outside of our program as well. Being a 1:1 district, many of our students had to access the resources of their traditional courses through online sites, such as Google classroom. These centralized sites to access resources are much more efficient unless you have intermittent internet access, to which point a traditional classroom now has produced additional barriers to access education. Students who were not enrolled in our program, but struggled with the same access to resources, were issued our ITEF devices so that those barriers could be removed.
Students should not have to choose between walking through unsafe neighborhoods, nor should families have to make the choice of paying rent, to ensure that access to the internet and education is available in a safe and secure location. Additionally, where once the resource that did not exist for a student, that access was now available for a family’s use.
ITEF has made a positive impact on the students in our program through the substantial use agreement. The barriers that often divide our students were broken down and provided us with an opportunity to unite and elevate.