Districts & Charters describe # of students without needed technology or internet/broadband access to participate in distance learning
The list below provides a summary of responses from 22 Minnesota traditional districts and six chartered public schools. The six charters, while operating independently, are listed in the districts where they are located.
Information was gathered April 20-22, 2020. The data below was reported to the Minnesota Department of Education on April 17, 2020. CSC deeply appreciates responses from each of the leaders mentioned below. We realize this is an extremely challenging time.
Responses below include: Anoka-Hennepin, (Northwest Passage, Paladin), Bloomington, Braham, Brooklyn Center, Caledonia, Cambridge-Isanti, Elk River, Forest Lake, Little Falls, Milaca, Minneapolis, Monticello, (Swan River), Osseo, Pierz, Princeton, Richfield, Rosemount-Apple-Valley Eagan, St. Louis Park, Stillwater, (New Heights, St. Croix Preparatory Academy), Upsala, St. Paul, Waconia (Cologne Academy).
Joel A. VerDuin, chief technology and information officer for the Anoka-Hennepin School District, said the district has distributed about 18,000 Chromebooks. It also has purchased and shared 100 hotspots.
NORTHWEST PASSAGE HIGH SCHOOL (charter):
Peter Wieczorek, director of Northwest Passage High School, a charter school in Coon Rapids, wrote: “Currently 100% of our students (165 currently) have some sort of technology (computer, laptop or tablet) besides a smartphone at home. NWPHS provided approximately 40% of our students with Chromebooks during the planning week. We have one student who is still struggling to get reliable internet connectivity. … NWPHS has purchased a mobile hotspot in an effort to help.”
Brandon Wait, executive director of Paladin Career & Technical High School, a charter school in Blaine, wrote, “We gave out a Chromebook to every student.” There are two students of 199 who do not have internet access.
He continued: “As you know, our students are not just ‘working from home.’ They are confined to their home during a global health crisis, supporting their siblings and families, perhaps still at their job as an essential worker, and through all that, they’re trying to do school work. We as schools need to recognize these challenges and work with our students to help them succeed in their goals. This means that we need to respond accordingly and our expectations must be changed.”
Les Fujitake, Bloomington Public Schools superintendent, reported that all students have the technology needed to access the internet. Twenty-three do not have access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning.
Braham Area Schools Superintendent Ken Gagner explained that 68 students do not have the necessary technology and the same number do not have access to high speed internet or broadband connection.
Brooklyn Center Community Schools Superintendent Carly Baker wrote that 560 of the district’s students do not have needed devices and 700 do not have access high speed internet or broadband access to support remote learning.
Caledonia Area Public Schools Superintendent Craig Ihrke wrote: “We have only 3 families that don’t have technology access at all. I think we were able to get a device for families that didn’t have one. We are working with those families to get them what they need for school. There are quite a few families who have bandwidth issues that make several family members being online simultaneously difficult to impossible.”
Cambridge-Isanti Schools Superintendent Nate Rudolph wrote that 692 of the district’s students lacked the technology needed and 298 do not have access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning.
ISD 728 (Elk River, Otsego, Rogers and Zimmerman) Superintendent Daniel Bittman explained 500 K-12 students did not have access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning. All students with internet connections have the equipment needed that would allow them to connect.
Forest Lake Area Schools Superintendent Steve Massey wrote: “Technology is a challenge. I worked with our local education foundation and received a $5,000 grant to help families without internet access. We are providing a Chromebook for every student in grades 4-12 and helping these families with internet connection if necessary. We also purchased T-Mobile hotspots to give to families without an internet.” He reported that 25 district students do not have access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning. and 15 do not have the technology needed to connect on the internet.
LITTLE FALLS, Pierz & Upsala
Little Falls Community Schools Superintendent Stephen Jones wrote that 87 district students lacked the needed technology and 144 lacked access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning. He explained, “We are 1:1 throughout the system, but early elementary cannot take the devices home.”
Tim Truebenbach, Milaca Public Schools superintendent, wrote that all “students that need devices for distance learning, have them.” However, 136 students lack access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning.
MINNEAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Julie Schultz Brown, executive director of marketing and communications for Minneapolis Public Schools, said they’ve found that 1,878 MPS students needed devices, and somewhat less 3,100 needed internet connectivity. That’s after MPS delivered more than 12,000 computers and many internet hot spots, which allow connectivity.
Eric Olson, superintendent of the Monticello Public School District, reported that 14 students lacked technology because machines are being repaired and that “we have had this at 0 for several days.” He also noted that no district families lack access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning. “We have over 3500 devices out right now in the hands of students. There are still students who we are trying to contact, but we have connected everyone who completed the survey and shared that they were in need.”
SWAN RIVER – Monticello
Katie Curtis, school director of Swan River Montessori Charter School in Monticello, wrote that one family lacks access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning. and 15 families report a lack of technology need for remote learning.
North Branch Area Public Schools community rrelations coordinator Patrick Tepoorten reported that as of Friday, April 17, all district families have access to high speed internet or broadband and technology needed to support remote learning.
ISD 279 Osseo Area Schools Superintendent Cory McIntyre of reported that 291 of the district’s students currently lack access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning and none lack the technology to support remote learning.
Pierz (District 484) Superintendent George Weber reported that 27 families reported they do not have access to high speed internet or broadband to support learning, and no families report that they lack technology needed for internet connections. He explained: “We have invested in devices over the last 6+ years and have delivered them everywhere. Internet access is a challenge. In areas of our district there are pockets without adequate cell service, even if we provide them Wi-Fi hot spots. But we are working with each family to create solutions.”
Emily McKinnon, executive assistant to the superintendent in Princeton Public Schools, reported that 172 of the district’s families lack the needed technology and the same number lack access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning.
RICHFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Courtney LaDuke of the Richfield Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services reported that all students, grades K-12 “have been assigned and have picked up their laptop device. RPS has assigned EVERY enrolled student a technology device for distance learning.”
Richfield Public Schools has loaned out 60 hot spots to 60 families. The district is out of these hot spots (more on order) and is advising families in need to access the free Xfinity hot spots and/or call Comcast to access the low-income “Internet Essentials” program.
ROSEMOUNT APPLE VALLEY EAGAN
Tony Taschner, District 196’s communications director, reported that all families with one or more K-3 children were provided with a device (Chromebook, iPad) from the district. All students in grades 4-12 already had a district-owned iPad prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
He noted that the district has spent $175,773 on 607 hotspots, of which 480 have been given to students who needed access. “Additional requests continue to come in as situations change, and we continue to issue hotspots to those students/families. “
ST LOUIS PARK
Flower Krutina, executive assistant to superintendent in St. Louis Park, wrote that 39 of the district’s students do not have access to high speed internet or broadband need to support remote learning. She also noted, “We have loaned out 1781 Chromebooks.”
SAINT PAUL PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Kevin Burns, director of St. Paul Public Schools’ office of communications, reported that the district has distributed many Chromebooks and hot spots. However, as of April 17, 839 students did not have necessary equipment and 2,701 did not have internet access.
STILLWATER (+ New Heights and St. Croix Preparatory School)
Robert McDowell, assistant superintendent of Stillwater Public Schools, reported, “We have deployed all requested devices and so are currently at 0 need.” Furthermore, “we have deployed all but 4 needed internet hot spots. I believe those will go out this week.”
Tom Kearney principal of New Heights School, a charter public school in Stillwater, wrote, “Virtually 100% of our families claim to have some level of access to internet and some type of device, even though we put 8 devices into the hands of some families.”
St. Croix Preparatory Academy:
Jon Gutierrez, executive director of St. Croix Preparatory Academy in Stillwater, (charter public school) explained: ‘We have connected approximately 10 homes/families with broadband service and we have distributed 385 Chromebooks to families/students to facilitate our distance learning.” Gutierrez reported that all students have high speed internet or broadband and have the technology needed for remote learning.
Melanie Daniel, front office administrative assistant for Upsala Area Schools, wrote that 48 students lack the needed technology and 58 lack access to high speed internet or broadband to support remote learning.
Jessica Kilian, executive assistant to Waconia Public Schools Superintendent Pat Devine reported that all students have access to high speed internet or broadband need to support remote learning. She noted that eight students do not have the technology needed for remote learning. .
Lynn Peterson, executive director of Cologne Academy charter public school in Cologne, wrote that all of their students have the needed technology and have connections to the internet. She explained: “We deployed Chromebooks to all students that need one. We are not a 1:1 device school. We bought additional devices to fill the need.”