Verizon Expands Education Initiatives to Provide Millions of Students Nationwide With Distance Learning Resources
What you need to know:
- In a time when it has never been more critical, Verizon is supporting students, parents, teachers and school districts with tools to support remote learning including
- Partnerships with school districts nationwide to make available discounted connectivity so that over 36 million students in 38 states and the District of Columbia can access the tools they need to support tech-enabled learning
- Access to digital resources available for all K-12 educators across the country
- Expansion of the Verizon Innovative Learning program to 254 middle schools across the country; first time expansion into high schools
- Partnerships with organizations including The New York Times and Discovery Education to provide content and tools to educators and students
BASKING RIDGE, N.J., August 26, 2020/3BL Media/ - As students, teachers, parents and school districts across the country implement remote education practices at the start of a completely unprecedented school year, Verizon is addressing the barriers to digital learning and enabling connectivity for students who need it most. Expanding its longtime commitment to education, Verizon is partnering with school districts across the country to make available discounted connectivity to their students; providing resources to make tech-enabled learning more accessible and more enriching by creating online resources for teachers; and expanding the Verizon Innovative Learning program, which equips students and teachers at select schools across the country with a device, a data plan and professional development and support - tools that are vital to helping under-privileged students succeed.
“COVID-19 is shining an urgent light on the digital divide and the disparity of access to the basic tools for online learning among communities across the country,” said Rose Kirk, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Verizon. “During this critical moment we are focused on expanding our knowledge of and commitment to education by providing resources and strategies that will create the necessary support systems that give students the education they deserve.”
Giving access and connectivity to schools and students
With millions of students across the country lacking basic tools like connectivity and devices to participate in remote learning, Verizon is doubling down on its initiative to close the digital divide with a national distance learning initiative launched in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through partnerships with independent school districts including Los Angeles Unified School District and sponsor states like Georgia’s Department of Education, school districts can benefit from discounted pricing for unlimited 4G LTE Internet plans and other applications students need to stay connected, whether they are learning 100% in the classroom, from home or through a hybrid model. This national Verizon distance learning initiative offers discounted connectivity to more than 36 million students across 38 states and the District of Columbia.
“Our national Verizon Distance Learning Program aims to provide a reliable Internet connection for every student who needs one for the 2020-2021 school year,” said Andrés Irlando, Senior Vice President and President, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “Through turnkey partnerships with sponsor-state and independent school districts, Verizon is able to help bridge the digital divide and quickly solve the issue of getting students connected and learning as quickly and easily as possible.”
“The digital divide in our country is very real, and we need to make sure every student has the device and internet access they need to be connected with their school community,” Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “We are pleased the groundbreaking agreement we reached with Verizon back in March will now be used to help more students.”
Providing groundbreaking remote learning resources
As students, parents and teachers across the country look for support to alleviate the stress of remote education, Verizon will increase the scale of its education work with the STEM Activity Center, an online toolkit that provides STEM resources and hands-on activities that students can leverage in or out of the classroom, helping teachers supplement their lesson plans. Parents can also access the activities, created in partnership with non-profit partner Project Lead the Way, to help supplement at-home learning, focused on learning new skills like virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D design and more. Verizon is also building teacher training pathways, a credentialed training program focused on digital skills, remote learning and digital coaching. Open to all educators across the country, the courses will help teachers become more efficient and effective with technology integrated instruction to help them navigate digital learning. Teacher training pathways, created in partnership with education non-profit partner Digital Promise, will launch in October. Both resources can be found at CitizenVerizon.com/DigitalInclusion.
Verizon and The New York Times will continue to offer all students and teachers in high schools across the U.S. free access to NYTimes.com through September 1, 2021, helping to keep them informed and connected in a rapidly changing world. Furthermore, Verizon is working with The Times’s Learning Network to provide teachers, parents and students with teaching tools specifically designed for the realities of today’s physical, virtual and hybrid classrooms. Grounded in real-time examples, these professional development resources, lesson plans, quizzes and webinars support curriculum to help build critical thinking, comprehension and conversation skills.
Building for the future
During the 2020-2021 school year, Verizon’s Innovative Learning program - the company’s education initiative targeting Title 1 schools - will expand to an additional 101 Title 1 middle schools across the country, bringing the total number of middle schools in the program to 254. This fall, the program will, for the first time, expand into high schools with pilot programs launching in 10 high schools, 5 in Compton, California and 5 in Irving, Texas, boosting the STEM pipeline for students in these school districts. The expansion will reach over 56,000 students, bringing the total number of students impacted by Verizon Innovative Learning, since the program launched in 2012, to 350,000.
While Verizon is committed to providing the immediate support needed to make this school year productive and equitable, it's also building for the future. Verizon Innovative Learning Labs, including VR and AR, robotics, and entertainment technology, are being built across the country and the power of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband will be brought to life at select Verizon Innovative Learning schools.
These new initiatives come on the heels of Verizon’s rollout of its social responsibility plan, Citizen Verizon, the company’s plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. Verizon will help more students than ever stay connected and thrive in today's virtual learning environment, which includes providing 10 million young people with the digital access and skills training necessary for them to thrive in a modern economy.