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The 2017-2018 school year will bring new opportunities for 300 incoming ninth-grade students at Harlingen CISD with the district’s selection in the Sprint 1Million Project. Qualifying students will receive free mobile devices and free high-speed wireless internet connectivity.

The initiative will provide 300 devices a year for five years ultimately connecting 1,500 ninth-grade students with devices and service. Students will be able to reap the benefits of the program for up to four years in high school while enrolled at HCISD.

“We are super excited about being selected to participate in the Sprint 1Million Project. This is a wonderful opportunity to obtain devices and service for hundreds of ninth-grade students at HCISD,” said Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos. “We thank Sprint for taking on this mission to reach students across the country that lack home internet access.”

The 1Million Project was created by Sprint and the Sprint Foundation to help eliminate the “Homework Gap” that puts low-income students at a major disadvantage because they don’t have home access to the internet. Their goal is to reach one million students across the nation.

To determine the best candidates for the program, HCISD conducted a survey at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

“We sent out a survey with our eighth-grade students to identify students who do not have internet service at home,” said Jessica Hruska, special projects and grants specialist. “Students can have internet service and still be eligible for the grant if it’s slow or if there are multiple children per household that are running off one device that has service.”

The program will address the needs of select ninth-graders attending Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy, Early College High School, and Harlingen School of Health Professions.

Sprint and the Sprint Foundation will work closely with HCISD to determine the best device solution for local students. Each student may receive either a free smartphone or tablet and 3GB of high-speed LTE data per month. Unlimited data is available at 2G speeds if usage exceeds 3GB in a month. Those who receive a smartphone can use it as a hotspot and for unlimited domestic calls and texts while on the Sprint network.

Hruska admits that the project will involve a lot of work from HCISD staff, but it is well worth the effort if they can help students overcome the limitations caused by a lack of a device or service.

“We debated on this quite a bit just because of the management required on our end, but it’s just too good of an opportunity to not put in the extra work that’s going to go with it,” she said. “We are excited that our district was one of the ones chosen to participate.”

Per year HCISD will receive $199,300.00 in services and equipment each year for five years which brings the total to almost $1 million.

An “activation” event is planned for early next school year to celebrate the roll out of the program at HCISD.

Since its establishment in 1989, the Sprint Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Sprint) has provided millions of dollars to community organizations across the country. A separate legal entity from Sprint, the Sprint Foundation is able to make a huge impact where it is needed most, supporting hundreds of organizations every year that focus on education, arts and culture, youth development, community development, and disaster relief. For more information visit sprint.com/goodworks.

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