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Program Lets Rochester High School Students Qualify for Free Internet Service

Students at high schools such as East High
may be eligible for free internet at home through a program announced June 11
by the Rochester City School District. File photo

Ninth- through 12th graders in the Rochester City School District who don’t have internet service at home may be eligible for free access.

The district announced June 11 it will offer free home access through the 1Million Project Foundation, a nonprofit that uses the Sprint PCS network to give students devices and free high-speed internet.

The goal is to help eliminate the homework gap for one million high school students across the country.

Students will be able to take home RCSD-issued Chromebooks with new hardware from the 1Million Project Foundation. The service will be available to students through all four years of high school. Students will be surveyed at the beginning of the 2019 school year to determine the hardware and internet access needs.

As many as 8,000 RCSD students could benefit.

Families will not be charged, and no personal information will be captured while they participate in the program. Every device has a filter that is compliant with the Free Children’s Internet Protection Act, preventing students from accessing inappropriate content.

Superintendent Daniel G. Lowengard said that RCSD “has a firm belief that every student should have internet access both at home and at school, and this partnership brings us one step closer to this goal.”

Parents will receive a letter this summer explaining the program and eligibility.

According to a survey by students from George Mather Forbes School No. 4 and Helen Barrett Montgomery School No. 50, 90 percent of students in grades nine through 12 said they would use a Chromebook at home for homework, 79 percent said classwork, and 66 percent said research. The survey had 110 responses.