ConnectED NY - ConnectED NY

ConnectED NY

ConnectED NY is committed to securing internet access for students across New York State. Connectivity was a primary area of focus for the Reimagine New York Commission, which developed solutions to build back better and more equitably in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

For Fall 2021, ConnectED NY is working with eligible school districts to provide supports for:

Districts interested in these supports should complete this interest form by September 10, 2021.

Emergency Connectivity Fund

For districts that have applied to the Emergency Connectivity Fund, we’ve partnered with Funds for Learning (FFL), a leading consulting firm that provides E-rate and ECF support to schools and libraries nationwide. Free consulting support is available to eligible school districts.  Email help@fundsforlearning.com. Ask your questions via email, or set up an appointment for 1:1 support.

Outreach to Families

A key component to successful implementation of device distribution and/or establishing fixed internet solutions is family engagement and strategic outreach. Through the ConnectED NY program, your district has the opportunity to receive additional support in the area of family engagement and outreach regarding internet connectivity at home.

Significant numbers of families qualify for low-cost and fully subsidized broadband programs, but adoption rates are often low. We’ve partnered with EducationSuperHighway to support a Broadband Adoption Program that supports participating school districts in the roll-out of their at-home internet initiatives to ensure that their unconnected students get quickly enrolled and gain home access.

School districts participating in this program will be given expert support and tools to run an effective outreach campaign, systems to track progress, and project management capacity to drive high rates of broadband adoption, along with funding to execute the campaigns.

Alternatively, school districts can apply for direct grants from ConnectED NY to secure funding for outreach efforts. These funds may be used to pay school staff, community partners, or other groups to engage in outreach that connects students to the internet at home.

Districts interested in these supports should complete this interest form by September 10, 2021.

Data-enabled Mobile Hotspots from AT&T

Through a partnership with AT&T, eligible districts may request mobile hotspots for their students. Hotspots come equipped with data plans through June 30, 2022, and will be shipped directly to the district for distribution. Districts are not required to submit student information to ConnectED NY.

ConnectED NY is intended to fill gaps in access and is not intended to supplant existing contracts with internet providers. Districts will be required to provide details on how student need is determined. Participation will be capped at 10% of total student enrollment in the district. Districts that received funding through ConnectED NY in Spring 2021 may apply again, if they have additional students with unmet need (up to 10% of total enrollment).

Fixed Internet Service

ConnectED NY continues to work with fixed internet service providers to meet needs in school districts with limited mobile coverage. 

Districts that may need fixed internet service should complete the ConnectED NY interest form and indicate preferred providers by September 10, 2021.

Requirements for Estimating Student Need

Rather than requiring students to sign up for the program before school districts submit applications, districts may apply using estimates of student need. Acceptable methodologies for estimating student need may include:

  • Number of students who received school assistance with internet access during the 2020-2021 school year through a program that is no longer available (e.g., through a lapsed ISP contract)
  • Number of students who could not participate in remote learning activities in the 2020-2021 school year as a result of limited / no internet access
  • Number of students without sufficient at-home internet access as reported in recent district surveys of parents / caregivers

Other methodologies may be acceptable for estimating student need as well. Districts requiring support with estimating student need may consider partnering with EducationSuperHighway on its K-12 Bridge to Broadband program.

Districts must indicate on the ConnectED NY interest form how they have estimated student need.

For more information, review our Frequently Asked Questions or email connectEDNY@digitalpromise.org

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