In August, Bethel-Tate Local School District applied for a federal grant to purchase student Chromebooks. In October, the district was notified that they received the first round of grants from the Emergency Connectivity Fund for $166,858.05.
John Burns, Bethel-Tate’s Director of Operations, learned of the grant and conducted a survey to determine the need for devices. Based on this research, he moved forward with writing and submitting the grant application.
The grant has enabled the district to purchase 639 student Chromebooks through the E-Rate Program. These laptops have been recently delivered to the district and will be configured and assigned to individual students who indicated a need. District officials plan to distribute the laptops before the winter break, enabling students to take them home for remote and online learning.
“Now more than ever, students need access to technology at home to provide continuity to their learning. When we surveyed our families at the end of last school year, we discovered that more than 600 students did not have access to personal computers or laptops for remote online learning,” said Melissa Kircher, Superintendent. “We knew we had to find a way to fund such a large purchase. I am proud of our team’s hard work to secure this significant grant to help our students in need.”
The Chromebooks will be assigned to Bethel-Tate students who indicated a need and will remain with them while enrolled in the district. Those Chromebooks assigned to seniors will be returned to the district before graduation. The district anticipates the Chromebooks will be able to be used by students for at least three years.
The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a $7.17 billion program funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help schools and libraries support remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period.