Thursday, February 10, 2022

Wayne Westland district receives $3 million technology grant

Remote learning will become far more efficient in the Wayne-Westland Community Schools following the announcement of a $3 million grant to fund technology.

The school district was awarded the Emergency Connectivity Fund Grant through the Federal Communications Commission last month. The grant is part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help schools and libraries support remote learning, officials noted.

“Wayne-Westland received the biggest award in Michigan. We would like to thank our technology department for targeting this grant to address the device and connectivity shortcomings experienced by our students,” said Dr. John Dignan, superintendent of the Wayne-Westland Community Schools. 

The funds will be used to provide all kindergarten through fourth-grade students with an iPad with built-in cellular data capability. It will also provide nearly 1,700 fifth through 12-grade students with a Chromebook with built-in cellular data, school officials said. 

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the school district provided devices to all students and internet hot spots to students who needed them to accommodate remote learning. 

District school buses were also equipped with mobile Wi-Fi and deployed to locations throughout the community to ensure that students had access to remote classes.

Officials said that this was not a long-term and sustainable solution for “challenges that demand simplicity, reliability and portability.” These devices will allow students to have guaranteed Wi-Fi, the said. 

“This will be a game-changer for our students with the LTE devices. This will also help our homeless, foster students and families that do not have access to the internet. We are looking at over 5,000 LTE devices that will be purchased through this grant,” Dignan said.