Montclair Public Schools on Target to Close Digital Divide

Montclair, NJ – Montclair Public Schools has secured funding to provide all families and students with devices and connectivity for all-year-round learning, Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds announced Thursday.

Even during the summer months, families and students can stay connected and use their devices. This funding is made possible through the district’s successful application for monetary support from the Emergency Connectivity Fund to help close the digital divide. The district will receive up to $2,028,644.80 to purchase Chromebooks, hot spots and broadband Internet and is also eligible to be reimbursed for any expenses related to hotspots and broadband Internet from July 2021 to the present.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund is a $7.17 billion program funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help schools and libraries support remote learning. The Program provides funding to schools and libraries for the reasonable costs of eligible equipment and services that can be provided to students, teachers, and library patrons who lack connected devices, such as laptop or tablet computers, and/or lack broadband access during the pandemic.

Late December/early January, surveys were sent out to staff and families inquiring about their access to a device/Internet service in order to assess how the District could better meet their technology needs.

To date the District has received approximately 1,708 requests for staff and student devices. These devices will remain in their possession for facilitating and receiving remote instruction should the need arise throughout the summer and during the school year.

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