covid classroom

Verizon has expanded its support for teachers and students in the face of the continuing COVID-19 crisis with the introduction of a professional development platform for teachers and the expansion of a program that supports educators and provides connectivity for Title 1 schools. The initiatives are known respectively as Teacher Training Pathways and Verizon Innovative Learning.

Teacher Training Pathways is a free program aimed at K-12 teachers that offers, among other things, courses to micro-credentials on remote and hybrid learning, and instructional technology coaching. The program, which was designed in cooperation with the Digital Promise non-profit, is aimed at making teachers more efficient and effective in technology-related instruction. Registration for the program is now available.

The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program, which provides 1:1 devices, access and professional development to teachers in Title 1 schools, is expanding. It now will provide schools that already have 1:1 device programs with Verizon hotspots and a 30 GB LTE monthly data plan for students with a device but without a reliable home Internet connection. Teachers also will have access to professional development through Teacher Training Pathways.

“Distance learning has placed enormous pressure on both students and teachers and this is especially true of those in underrepresented communities who often lack access to sufficient support systems and resources,” Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon’s Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, said in a press release about the expansion of Verizon Innovative Learning. “Providing these new opportunities for educators and students supports our long-standing commitment to increasing skill-building and advancing tech equity in education across the U.S.”

Other carriers and related organizations are pitching in to support children and educators during the crisis. Last week, AT&T said it will discount wireless data plans and provide content filtering for more than 135 public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities. The carrier also pledged $10 million in free broadband connectivity and related resources.

In late September, Cox said it will allocate $60 million over a year-long period. Details were a bit vague, but the press release said that the funding will focus on support for Cox Internet offerings.

On the small provider side, in late July EPB of Chattanooga said it would provide network infrastructure for HCS EdConnect, an initiative that will bring 100 Mbps or faster symmetrical services., a router and no data cap to about 28,500 economically disadvantaged students in the Chattanooga area.

In mid-September, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association announced a collaboration with Digital Bridge K-12 to help providers and school districts nationwide give home Internet access to rural households.

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