March 29, 2021
The Citywide Classroom South Bend partnership, which includes the South Bend Community School Corporation, City of South Bend, and local nonprofit enFocus, announced that eligibility for the program has expanded to all South Bend Community School Corporation students throughout the district.
“Through the work of this partnership, we have eased the burden on our students and their families during a global pandemic. While we have achieved so much over these last few months, we still have much left to do to empower at-home learning,” said Patrick Stalvey, Chief Technology Officer for the South Bend Community School Corporation.
So far during a needs-based rollout of at-home internet connections and WiFi hotspots, nearly 1,000 connections were distributed to households in South Bend to connect more than 1,700 SBCSC students.
“We believe access to learning is a right, not a privilege, for all students,” said Gillian Shaw, enFocus Director of Research and Development. “While our grant requires that students qualify for free or reduced lunch at SB Schools, we have our team standing by to assist you. Please apply through our website before the end of the school year to access your right to learning.”
The Citywide Classroom South Bend program was initially piloted within the South Bend Empowerment Zone, and was expanded to serve the entire SBCSC district in October 2020.
“High standards and learning require resources and care. The resources and care are very important for the high standards of instruction that we want to deliver at our school and in the Empowerment Zone,” said Dr. Antoine Reed, Principal of Coquillard Elementary School. “We are extremely thankful for the Empowerment Zone and enFocus for providing an amazing program that represents both qualities and supports our students learning.”
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that 30 percent of South Bend’s households lack home internet access. The $1.8 million provided through the Governors Emergency Education Relief grant allows the Citywide Classroom South Bend partnership to distribute more than 2,200 at-home internet packages and 2,000 WiFi hotspots to students in South Bend.
“Citywide Classroom South Bend showcases a remarkable cross-institutional commitment to closing the digital divide for school aged youth.” says Denise Linn Riedl, Chief Innovation Officer for the City. “1,000 connections is just the start.”
CCSB will be working to connect as many families as possible before the end of the school year and encourage parents to visit www.citywideclassroomsb.org to apply. Families that lack internet access can contact administrators at their student’s school to inquire about eligibility to receive equipment.