With parents having the option of their students learning on campus or at home with Copperas Cove ISD instruction, the school district will offer hot spots for families needing internet access.

The Texas Education Agency created the Technology Lending Program to assist public school districts in loaning students the equipment necessary to access and use digital instructional materials off campus, said Kim Blalock, CCISD federal funding coordinator/special projects.

“The focus of the program is to ensure equitable access to quality digital resources, especially for economically disadvantaged students,” Blalock said.

CCISD conducted a student needs assessment and revised its technology plan as part of the application process for a $100,000 grant offered through TEA. CCISD was notified in April that it was one of only 144 school districts in Texas chosen to receive the grant. The district then mailed a technology survey to all CCISD families along with a link to an online survey asking about their technology needs.

“We will be using the results of the survey to determine which families will qualify to check out a student laptop and/or a mobile hot spot,” Blalock said. “The hot spots will contain content filtering that will limit access to inappropriate websites.”

With the grant funding, the district was able to purchase 110 hot spots through T-Mobile with 2-year contracts and unlimited data, along with 180 HP Stream laptops and protective cases.

CCISD will reach out to the qualifying families closer to the beginning of school. CCISD Director of Technology Earl Parcell said one of the stipulations included with the grant is that students on the free/reduced meal program be given priority.

“The (check-out) process will include the student and parent making a request at the student’s home campus. The campus will secure the resources and make arrangements to issue them to the student and parent,” Parcell said.

CCISD issued more than 700 devices to families when schools closed immediately following Spring Break. CCISD lost only one day of instruction, having lessons in students’ hands just one day after the campus closures. The district also set up hot spots at all school locations and its district service and training center.

CCISD Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Technology Amanda Crawley said it is CCISD’s mission to ensure the success of every student.

“Providing the hot spots for home use for those students who do not have internet connectivity allows them to choose the at-home learning option our district offers families during the pandemic,” Crawley said.

“The personal hot spots will allow students to still receive daily academic instruction with our highly qualified teachers and also increase the students’ social interaction which is beneficial to their mental and emotional health as well. The personal hot spots also make life more efficient for our working parents with the accommodation being in the home rather than remote locations.”

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