Community helps GSA respond to emerging needs

The Weekly Packet|4/30/2020

Community helps GSA respond to emerging needs
BLUE HILL—“Oh gosh, that’s amazing!” a George Stevens Academy junior said when teacher Elizabeth Moss told her the school would soon provide a smartphone to be used as a mobile hotspot.
MARK MESSER

The junior is one of around 20 GSA students with weak or no internet at home. Since remote schooling began in mid-March, lack of internet connectivity has been a real hindrance for these students. “I haven’t been able to be on my computer since [then],” she said. “That will be so helpful. Thank you!”

Though all GSA students are provided laptop computers, those without reliable internet at home received their classwork as paper packets. Teachers worked diligently to ensure those packets provide as much academic benefit as online materials, but these smartphones will enable them to engage with their teachers and peers in a more timely manner and join online discussions starting this week.

The first full week of remote learning, Moss reached out to teachers and parents to find out which students were struggling with online access. When administrators realized that remote schooling would be extended, Moss moved quickly to find ways to provide internet access. The best option was to purchase smartphones to be used as hotspots and to pay for short-term data plans for students. Though the school’s finance committee authorized the unbudgeted expenditure, the hope was that community members would hear about the need and give to ensure these students the best chance for academic success.

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4/30/2020