When the pandemic hit Arizona, it became clear that our schools did not have the necessary resources to switch to virtual learning. Many students, particularly in our rural communities, did not have access to reliable broadband and internet services in their home.
Making investments and creating strong partnerships with organizations dedicated to providing and expanding broadband became even more critical and necessary for our students. That’s why Superintendent Kathy Hoffman invested $1.5 million to the Final Mile Project to bring reliable, high-speed internet access to rural Arizona students by extending existing broadband capacity at schools and libraries to students’ homes.
While our rural communities were affected the most by the digital divide in our state, many students in our cities also did not have internet services or the technology needed for their schoolwork. The Superintendent partnered with the Phoenix Public Library to expand their laptop and hotspot lending program. ADE’s investment doubled the number of laptops and hotspots available while also extending the laptop lending period.
Supt. Hoffman also launched the Office of Digital Teaching and Learning, which provides Local Education Agencies with access to resources, from within or outside of ADE, to address the digital divide that limits K-12 students in Arizona from access to distance learning.
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