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Verizon Bridges the Digital Divide for Students in Compton   
By Kimberlee Buck, Staff Writer 
Published November 16, 2017

Verizon Vice President of Entertainment and Technology Policy, Eric Reed (Compton Unified School District)

Recently, students at Bunche Middle School in Compton received tablet devices through Verizon’s Innovative Learning program as part of their #weneedmore campaign. The school is one of 28 new schools to join the program this year.

The program which stems from the company’s partnership with nonprofit Digital Promise, focuses on bridging the digital divide and allowing students in low-income areas to have access to free technology and hands-on learning.

Pew Research reported 31.4 percent of households whose annual income fall below $50,000 with children ages 6 to 17, do not have high-speed internet connection at home which places low-income students at a learning disadvantage to their counterparts.

With combined efforts from Verizon and the Digital Promise, students and teachers were given personal mobile devices accompanied with a two-year Verizon Wireless 4G LTE data plans, for 24/7 internet access in the classroom and at home.

“Partnerships with national companies like Verizon as well as collaborative relationships with the Digital Promise clearly underscores one fact, that the Compton Unified School District has committed a tremendous amount of resources and time to enhance our secondary education program,” said Compton School Board Vice President, Micah Ali.

Students from Bunche Middle School learned how the latest technology in coding and robotics is being used in sports today. (Compton Unified School District)

“There are four million jobs within the technology space in this country. If we start now to prepare our children, they will be equipped and ready to deploy the skills that we taught them within the Compton Unified School District.”

To ensure the teachers are able to utilize their tools effectively during classroom lessons and the students are able to responsibly use the newly provided resources, a full-time technology coach will be working with the school for two years.

According to Verizon, results from last school year show 57 percent of students reported having technology makes science more interesting and 47 percent of students said they feel more confident in what they can do.

Currently, there are 74 nationwide schools that are participating in the innovative learning program. The company believes the program will reach a total of 28,000 students and 2,500 teachers this fall.

“It doesn’t just stop in the classroom, the education continues when [the students] take their tablets home,” said Verizon Vice President of Entertainment and Technology Policy, Eric Reed.

“Through the Verizon Innovation Program, these kids with their tablets, with their curriculum, with their fellow students and teachers are really on the cusp of being able to leverage these resources so that they can fulfill their own dream of being future scientist, technologist, and engineers of tomorrow.”

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