AllentownSchool District

Allentown SD Receives Grant to Close the Digital Divide

Allentown SD Receives Grant to Close the Digital Divide
Posted on 10/15/2020

Allentown, PA (October 15, 2020) – The Allentown School District is excited to announce receipt of a grant for over $844,000.  Those funds, which were used to purchase 3,517 Wi-Fi hot spots for students was made possible through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).  The opportunity to receive the funding was a direct result of support from the Office of State Representative Peter Schweyer.

Despite the challenges associated with educating more than 16,000 students during a global pandemic, the Allentown School District has made significant investments in technology.  Over the last few months, philanthropic support has allowed the district to make intentional technology purchases on behalf of our students and staff.

Perhaps most noteworthy, is the expansion of an already dynamic partnership between ASD and the Office of State Representative Peter Schweyer as well as those of State Senator Pat Browne and State Representative Mike Schlossberg.  With the ASD Strategic Framework as a backdrop for the movement toward 1:1 status, the expansion of partnerships, as well as increased philanthropic support, the District can remain on course while also adapting to the new normal imposed by COVID-19.

During a press conference on October 15 outside of Central Elementary, Superintendent Thomas Parker and local elected officials gathered to make the announcement.

“As we work to provide a high-quality virtual education experience for ASD students, a computer and Wi-Fi access has become just as essential as a pencil and paper,” said Parker. “We thank State Representative Pete Schweyer for supporting the District during this time of uncertainty.  We also thank Senator Browne and state representative Mike Schlossberg for their continued support and advocacy as well.”

This grant funding has allowed ASD to build on previous support received through the Allentown School District Foundation and Century Fund this spring. That support was used to make an initial purchase of 1,000 hot spots.  The DCED grant funding was used to purchase an additional 3,500 hot spots to prepare for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, moving the district closer to closing the digital divide.

 “All students need access to reliable internet. Unfortunately, thousands of our ASD students do not have availability of dependable internet.   Prior to COVID these students were able to access the internet in school, but as we know that has changed.” Representative Schweyer said. “Working with our partners in ASD and the Commonwealth to secure this grant provides our students with the tools needed to learn during the COVID 19 crisis.”

"If COVID-19 has done anything positive, it is that it has laid bare the stark inequities in our society - inequities that have fallen the hardest on my Allentown constituents,” said Representative Mike Schlossberg.  “We, at the state level, must better support their educational efforts. This funding is a down payment towards that ideal."

“COVID-19 has fundamentally changed many aspects of our lives, none more so than how we educate our children,” Sen. Browne said. “Providing every child with the tools and resources necessary to continue their education in this new virtual learning environment has to be our top priority. This funding does just that and ensures that no child is excluded from obtaining an education in these difficult times because of the lack of vital internet access. I commend Representative Schweyer for leading this effort.”

 

 This grant secured through Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, has undoubtedly had an immeasurable impact on the lives of thousands of Allentown students and their families.

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