The San Francisco 49ers are teaming up with the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) to help ease the burden of distance learning on the district’s budget. For the next six months, the 49ers will help cover the cost of the unlimited data plans for students using the district-issued mobile hotspots.
The grant was announced during the SCUSD School Board meeting on Oct. 8. The grant will pay for the next six months of data for 281 students in 170 district households. The mobile hotspots were distributed by the district in March when distance learning first began. Students were chosen based on expressed need and recommendations from school site administrators.
SCUSD Superintendent Dr. Stella M. Kemp told the School Board that this grant will help free up district resources for other district students in need, including those in North San Jose and Sunnyvale.
“We are grateful for partners like the San Francisco 49ers, who so generously work with us to enhance our support of students and their families during distance learning,” said Dr. Kemp. “This donation will allow us to continue to move forward in our equity work to ensure that all students have access to essential technology during distance learning.”
“The 49ers understand how crucial of a time this is for the students’ ability to attend and learn,” said Jenni Luke, 49ers Vice President of Community Impact. “We are excited to partner with SCUSD to do our part to help bridge the digital divide and reduce some of the additional barriers students are facing as a result of COVID-19.”
During the summer, SCUSD announced that more than 95 percent of elementary, middle and high school students were “positively engaged for some or all of the school day” during spring distance learning. The mobile hotspots helped make some of that engagement possible.
The 49ers are not the only ones helping the district during these challenging times. Dr. Kemp also announced “Wi-Fi on Wheels,” a grant from Lockheed Martin that will give more families the opportunity to connect so that they can continue to engage with school communities.
Meanwhile, Pomeroy Elementary School was awarded a $31,750 “Urban Greening Grant” from the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority.
“This grant will incorporate gardening and culinary based curriculum and provide students with experiential learning opportunities over a year,” Dr. Kemp told the School Board. “The program has a distance learning and in person learning variation should students return to class. It includes virtual field trips, guest lessons from local farmers, growing food, cooking, environmental science education and virtual on-site garden-based learning and recycling and composting programs.”
Dr. Kemp says many of these partnerships were made possible because of the work done by the district’s Partnerships Manager, Steven Neese.