With the goal of eliminating the “Homework Gap” for low-income students, Sprint and the Sprint Foundation partnered to support 1 million high school students by offering them free smartphones, tablets, or hotspot devices.
On Sept. 22, Sprint awarded Communication and Media Arts High School's freshman class with Samsung Galaxy J3 Emerge smartphones. Faces were lit as the students met in the media center with school board members, Detroit Public Schools Community District superintendent Nikolai Vitti and representatives from Sprint.
The goal of the 1Million Project is to connect a million high school students to the internet during the course of the five-year program. Sprint and the Sprint Foundation believe that students with no access to the internet are at a major disadvantage because they don’t have ready access to the web needed for completing homework, communicating with teachers, or applying for jobs, scholarships or college.
Their research has shown that home connectivity is especially important for schools that promote one-to-one computing programs, such as Khan Academy. They also believe that students are being prohibited from reaching their full potential without the necessary connections.
CMA freshman Dajanae Smith has an iPhone and now a Samsung phone. She uses both phones wisely for leisure purposes and for staying on track in school. She understands that even though this a great opportunity, the school's cell phone policies are still applicable.
“This is the only phone we can pull out in school,” Smith said. “We can use it for homework or classwork … but if we bring out any other phone it will be taken.”
The Samsung Galaxy J3 Emerge provides three gigabytes per month, free hotspots for students to access homework anywhere, and a content solution to keep students focused.
To receive the smartphone, parents were instructed to fill out and complete a consent form.
Freshman Antonaiy Whitley also received the Samsung phone from Sprint. Whitley wasn’t able to keep up with homework assignments because of the lack of internet access. When noticing her grades were not to her standards, she became stressed and embarrassed. She did not want to communicate with her peers or staff that she wasn’t able to participate in her school work. Sprint giving her the access she needed, has been a blessing for Whitley.
“I have so many new apps on my phone,” Whitley said. “Class Dojo, DetroitK12, and Mathematics have helped me so far. I am so excited to bring my grades up.”