If your school provides students with free or reduced lunch you are eligible to receive a major discount (up to 90% off) for internet services from the universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as “E-rate.” Here’s the discount chart. But it’s not like they just hand the moola over. To get this federal support for tech, you must ensure you are preparing your students to be safe, smart, responsible digital citizens.
That’s great, but how do you do that?
You have to have a plan to implement a digital literacy and citizenship curriculum. Good for schools. Good for students. The best part is there are several terrific providers out there.
Two of my favorites are Common Sense Education which provides a K-12 Digital Citizenship curriculum and EverFi’s 6 - 9 Digital Literacy + Responsibility program. Both contain engaging, interactive lessons complete with plans, handouts, videos, assessments, and tip sheets. Not only that, they’re free. Wondering what we mean by digital literacy, citizenship, an responsibility? It includes topics such as: Digital Footprint • Internet Safety • Cyberbullying • Conducting Online Research • Information Literacy • Copyright • Privacy • Digital Time Management • STEM Careers.
Where I work, in New York City, we even provide professional learning opportunities for teachers to come together to go through how to use these resources and meet the others who are doing this work. The person doing this tends to be the librarian or tech teacher. Sometimes a language arts teacher, though it could be anyone.
In smaller districts, schools report they’ve delivered the curriculum directly and get the discounts. In larger districts the district reports their schools have delivered the curriculum and schools report to the district. The deadline for reporting in my state is March 1st. What schools report is up to them. They are empowered to choose a packaged curriculum, combined resources from various curriculi, or make their own.
This is a program that makes a whole lot of sense. Get funding by preparing students for success with the tools you’re giving them that will help them do well in the world.