From NIEER’s policy research project coordinator, Kate Hodges: students enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs in New Jersey face a woeful shortage of devices and connectivity related to preschool distance learning. “Ninety-two percent of these low-income school districts are providing remote pre-K instruction, but half of these districts report having students who don’t have access to a device, the internet, or both.” See her report here.
Yet compared to Arizona who doesn’t even fund pre-K programs except for special-needs, New Jersey is a little ahead of of the game. That’s part of why A Stepping Stone Foundation exists. We DO it! We fund preschool for at-risk children and we provide devices and connectivity when needed.
While we all would prefer to have the preschool portion of our Stepping Stone LEAF program in-person, we cannot yet safely do so. That’s why we continue our program via distance learning.
Enter our amazing supporters! Thanks to our generous corporate donor BeyondTrust, we gave all our Stepping Stone Foundation LEAF families gently used devices (Surface Pro 4s or Dell Latitudes) which were user-ready and offered access to the internet. We currently pay for highspeed internet for one family enrolled at our Westwood site. Other families were able to connect either through district provided resources or their own.
While the rest of the nation talks about getting students from high risk/low socio-economic neighborhoods devices and connectivity, A Stepping Stone Foundation does it!! Below you can see a picture from a distance learning rollcall of preschoolers from last fall.