MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In honor of the 115th anniversary of the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA), Kajeet and VSBA partnered to launch the Virginia Education Broadband Grant program. Winners were awarded up to $30,000 each to support their digital equity initiatives. Grant funds could be used for any combination of Kajeet Education Broadband solutions, including WiFi hotspots, school bus WiFi, LTE-embedded Chromebooks, and routers.
Thirty school divisions across the Commonwealth applied for the grant program. Nine winners were selected by a panel consisting of members of the Kajeet and VSBA Executive teams and were announced at school board meetings held March through last week.
The division winners are:
- Southside – Goochland County Public Schools
- Tidewater – Williamsburg/James City County Public Schools
- Eastern – Essex County Public Schools
- Northeastern – Fredericksburg City Public Schools
- Central – Nelson County Public Schools
- Southern – Lunenburg County Public Schools
- Blue Ridge – Botetourt County Public Schools
- Southwest – Tazewell County Public Schools
- Valley – Harrisonburg City Public Schools
“We are thrilled for the Kajeet 2022 Virginia Education Broadband Grant winners and congratulate all the applicants looking to increase education-focused connectivity for their students,” said Daniel Neal, CEO and Founder of Kajeet. “Our partnership with VBSA is a significant way for us to stay focused on closing the homework gap that exists for far too many students in Virginia. We believe this investment will enable students to achieve greater success and improve many lives.”
The majority of winning divisions plan to incorporate WiFi hotspots (Kajeet SmartSpot®) and bus WiFi (Kajeet SmartBus™) into their student connectivity plans. With the average student spending up to 46 minutes roundtrip on the bus traveling to and from school each day, more divisions are looking to provide productive, safe options for students to complete online assignments, study for exams, or access additional educational resources while in transit. All Kajeet solutions include firewall protection and robust filtering, including CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act)-compliant filters to ensure devices are secure.
Harrisonburg City Public Schools plans to use their grant to include all Kajeet’s Education Broadband solutions which include WiFi hotspots, school bus WiFi, LTE-embedded Chromebooks, and routers. According to the division’s Executive Director of Technology, Toni Sheets, “Roughly 60% of the households in the city of Harrisonburg with school-age children do not have broadband internet access at home. Unfortunately, that means hundreds of our students are digitally being left behind. This grant will allow us to focus on our goal of equitable access for all HCPS students.”
In 2021, VSBA commemorated it’s 115-year anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, VSBA partnered with Kajeet to create a funding opportunity that would allow school divisions across the Commonwealth to connect students to safe, reliable Internet outside of the classroom. Kajeet awarded $270,000 in broadband services to Virginia school boards to solve the digital divide and help ensure that all students have access to learn, anytime, anywhere.
“VSBA is thrilled to partner with Kajeet to help local divisions around the state improve on their broadband initiatives,” said Gina Patterson, Executive Director of VSBA. “We look forward to continuing the relationship with Kajeet to help even more divisions around the state on their broadband needs.”
Kajeet is a leading managed IoT connectivity service provider and a trusted leader in education, providing software and hardware solutions that deliver safe, reliable, and controlled internet connectivity to nearly 3,000 businesses, schools and districts, state, and local governments, and IoT solution providers. Kajeet holds 40 U.S. patents in mobile technologies.
Virginia School Boards Association is a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards, to promote excellence in public education through leadership, advocacy, and services.