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Sunday, December 3, 2023
Dec. 3, 2023

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Federal grant helps Battle Ground students stay connected

The Columbian

BATTLE GROUND — Battle Ground Public Schools will make substantial upgrades to student technology and connectivity thanks to a nearly $1.4 million grant from the Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate program.

The funding was made possible through the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a $7.17 billion investment in school and library technology approved in the American Rescue Plan Act to help schools provide devices and connectivity to students during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from Battle Ground Public Schools.

It will allow the district to purchase 1,900 new Chromebooks, most of which will replace existing units that are out of date or no longer functioning. In an average year, the district replaces around 1,200 Chromebooks, the school district said.

The district currently maintains approximately 12,000 Chromebooks and 1,300 internet hot spots as part of a 1:1 initiative started in 2016 and completed during the 2020-21 school year.

The 1:1 initiative allowed Battle Ground Public Schools to more quickly pivot to remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic. Many students used their Chromebooks during the summer break to take advantage of online learning apps designed to improve math and language skills, according to the school district.

The district said it will also submit monthly internet hot spot costs to be reimbursed from the grant. The cost to provide hot spot service while students were learning remotely was approximately $650,000.

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