Telecommunications giant Verizon announced Wednesday that two schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will join a program aimed at improving access to technology for students. The Samuel P. Massie Academy and the Nicholas Orem Middle School will become Verizon Innovative Learning Schools.
Under the program developed with nonprofit Digital Promise, every student, teacher and administrator will receive an iPad complete with data plans that will allow student who don’t have access at home to still be able to use the internet. The 30 gigabytes a month will be available year-round, and not just during the academic year.
“This partnership could not come at a more urgent time, as everyone knows in public education. We in Prince George’s County, like so many other districts, are working right now to close the digital divide,” Andrew Zuckerman, chief information and technology officer at Prince George’s County Schools, said Wednesday. “That internet connectivity ensures access to opportunity and this program will help us accelerate the innovative work that we have taking place in our school system.”
The schools will also have access to technology coaches that will help teachers and students transition to the new technology develop STEM curricula to spark students interest in tech fields.
“It’s so exciting to be able to give our students access to technology, professional learning with having a full time coach, STEM opportunities and teaching and learning that is at the forefront,” said Samuel P. Massie Academy Principal Michelle Pegram.
Principal Michelle Towles-Monroe, of Nicholas Orem Middle School, said the new technology could also benefit parents.
“Not only with this exemplify learning beyond the classroom, but it will allow greater opportunities for parents to engage in their children’s learning experience — not only to survive but to thrive,” she said.
The Verizon Innovative Learning School said that one parent who did not speak English was able to use the iPad to translate their students’ assignments.
Several schools in D.C. and Montgomery County have already joined the program.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect the size of the data plan.