Hillsborough Education Foundation, Donors Provide 1,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots to Students in Need

(April 21, 2020) TAMPA – COVID-19 has changed the way our students are learning and how teachers are providing lessons. One of the challenges that has come to light during the recent shift to eLearning is the drastic digital divide for the most vulnerable students in Hillsborough County. Students at our highest needs schools are in jeopardy of falling behind in their studies because of a lack of adequate Wi-Fi preventing them from accessing their learning platforms.

In response, Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) has created a Digital Equity Team to find solutions to bridge the digital divide. With the generosity and support of our donors, including Amgen Foundation and the PwC Charitable Foundation, HEF has purchased 350 Wi-Fi hotspots to be distributed to students in need. An additional 650 hotspots have been ordered to continue to meet the growing demand.

In collaboration with Hillsborough County Public Schools, we are identifying students at the district’s 50 highest needs Achievement Schools to provide with a hotspot with unlimited data for the remainder of this school year to help ensure continued academic success.

Distribution will begin this week at schools and at Hillsborough Education Foundation. Individual pick-up arrangements or delivery to students will be coordinated with each school.

There will be media availability during these hotspot distributions:

 Tuesday, April 21: 10 AM-12 PM

Hillsborough Education Foundation, 2306 N. Howard Avenue, Tampa 33607

 Thursday, April 23: 9-11 AM

Potter Elementary, 3224 E. Cayuga Street, Tampa 33610

 Media interested in covering this event or setting up a Zoom interview with CEO Kim Jowell are asked to contact Kendra Oestreich at (813) 944-9510 (cell).

Our goal is to serve the needs of students at all 50 Achievement Schools. We will continue to secure additional hotspots and once the needs are met at Achievement Schools, will expand to other Hillsborough County Title I schools. Without this technology, these students could easily fall behind and it may take years for them to recover from the lack of learning and learning loss.

For more information about our COVID-19 response: https://educationfoundation.com/covid-19/.

To help students in need: https://educationfoundation.com/donate/.

About the Hillsborough Education Foundation

Established in 1987, Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) is a nonprofit focused on strengthening public education by supporting teachers and empowering students to achieve academic and personal success. HEF’s resources and financial support enrich K–12 educational experiences by providing opportunities for all students, regardless of background or economic status. Together with our community partners, HEF strategically invests in initiatives that impact teaching quality and increase graduation rates, bolstering a thriving workforce of tomorrow and the sustainable prosperity of Tampa Bay. Learn more at educationfoundation.com.

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