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Making sure each child has the tools and resources they need to reach their full educational potential can be a full-time job for schools and educators. Here are just a few programs that can help schools provide their students with equal learning opportunities.
The internet is playing an ever-increasing role in education, making internet-capable devices a must for students of all ages. Unfortunately, new devices are expensive, which places students living in low-income households at a disadvantage. To help these students, schools can apply for a government grant that awards schools with laptops and tablets. These devices can then be assigned to, or checked out by, students who might otherwise be unable to access online educational opportunities.
Schools can also purchase recycled and refurbished devices to distribute to students. These devices are certified by technicians and can be a great way to invest in affordable hotspot devices, laptops, and other electronics and reduce electronic waste. Some businesses and local government agencies even stipulate that their old devices can only be donated to educational institutions. Check with your local township or county officials to see if they have such a program in place, and don’t be afraid to ask local businesses to keep your school in mind when they decide to upgrade their technology.
School Sponsored Internet Access
As vital as the internet feels to our everyday lives, it’s important to remember that some students don’t have access to the internet outside of school. Whether they live in a rural area that is not wired for the internet or their family simply can’t afford an internet bill, being unable to access the internet can lead to students falling behind their peers. In order to help these students stay connected, schools have a number of options available to them. One way to connect students to the internet is through programs that provide mobile hotspots for students. There are several organizations and major wireless carriers that offer low-cost hotspots for schools to distribute to their students. Best of all, these hotspots operate off the school’s wireless plan, eliminating the cost of a wireless network for families.
For schools on a budget, providing mobile hotspots to every student might not be financially possible. In that case, a few well-placed hotspots on school grounds can create a convenient place for after-school internet access. By giving students consistent access to the internet 24/7, schools can ensure students have the ability to access online resources, find homework, and hand in assignments.
Educational Opportunity Programs
Educational Opportunity Programs, or EOPs, are counseling and academic support programs designed to help low-income and first-generation students succeed in college. EOP services can vary between schools, but at their core EOPs are committed to providing the resources and opportunities disadvantaged students need to successfully earn their college degrees. EOP eligibility is often determined by income and comes with several benefits. During the academic year, enrolled students can receive counseling, mentorship, and academic advising. EOPs can also offer students career advice and graduate study preparation.
Some programs even provide financial assistance in the form of grants and waiving or deferring certain fees. It’s important to know that while many colleges and universities offer EOPs, they are not mandatory. School counselors can help high school students interested in taking advantage of an EOP by making sure their school of choice offers the program before they finalize plans to attend.
Schools have the unique opportunity to positively impact young peoples’ lives. By providing students with the resources and opportunities they need to get the most out of their education, schools can help their students find success long after they leave the classroom.