Schools Must Use Every Available Asset To Eliminate Houston’s Digital Divide
By: Dr. Felicia Adams
In our increasingly digital world, equitable access to the internet is paramount for students and their families. To shrink the digital divide and create this access, schools and the administrators that lead them must pursue every resource available, especially outside-the-box partners and solutions.
Without access to the internet, many students are deprived of information and connectivity that are foundational to literacy, advancement, and skills building. Without access to these basic pathways to most Americans’ way of life, students are ultimately left behind. It is critically important for school administrators and educators to find allied champions for digital equity in this struggle. That is why Southwest Public Schools partnered with Houston’s largest internet provider, Comcast, to focus on ensuring that every student has internet access year-round.
After 26 years of experience in urban education, I now serve as the Superintendent at Southwest Public Schools, a tuition-free, open-enrollment school system where students are accepted regardless of background, academic record, or where they live. We strive to prepare our students for postsecondary readiness, and we have had to reckon with the fact that success often relies on whether students have access to the tools they need to be competitive in the digital world. After a K-12 education, our students will also need to adapt to a world where online job searching, remote working, telehealth appointments, and more have become the norm. Through partnerships like Comcast, we are able to bridge the gap and ensure our students have the resources they need to matriculate to life beyond high school.
Across Houston, many students do not have reliable access to the internet at home, particularly those who are from lower-income households – which include many of the students we teach at Southwest Public Schools. One in 10 Houston area households don’t have both an internet subscription and a computer, according to the U.S. Census.
It is clear that this is a problem for our students. The challenge, however, lies in accessing the proper resources to provide our students with the tools they need to succeed. Southwest Public Schools has taken steps to remedy this; our goal is to be a 1:1 district, which means we provide our students with the technology that they need to complete their schoolwork like laptops, tablets, and smart TVs in our classrooms – however, our strategy to connect our students to digital resources doesn’t stop there. We depend on partnerships to assist us with this purpose.
At Southwest Public Schools, we believe genuine transformation requires disruptive innovations. Innovation in education means leveraging every available resource and ally in the struggle to provide for our students in an increasingly digital world. Our partnership with Comcast is intended to do just that.
Comcast and Southwest Public Schools have been hosting community resource events to provide students with technology and the opportunity to access free internet. Southwest Public Schools and Comcast have hosted over 100 low-income and under-resourced families from the community to donate Chromebook laptops to the school system and provide every eligible attendee with free or discounted Internet through Comcast’s Internet Essentials (IE) and the Federal Government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). We will continue to partner with Comcast to ensure that every student and family is aware of the free and discounted internet options at their fingertips.
Since Southwest Public Schools first opened in 1998, our teachers and administrators have been dedicated to transforming our students’ lives. Through this unique partnership with Comcast, doors have been open to innovation and other aspects of providing equitable resources to all students.
October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com
As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.
Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.