Digital Equity & Access: Connecting Students Beyond School

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. (ET)
At the national and local levels, both educators and policymakers are working toward creative solutions for narrowing the digital divide between students outside of their school walls. Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel will help kick off Digital Learning Day Live! with a discussion about the federal role in supporting digital equity and a look at Coachella Valley Unified School District’s unique approach to tackling connectivity gaps in rural California.

davis-moderatorRafranz Davis (moderator)
Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning
Lufkin Independent School District (TX)
Twitter Handle: @RafranzDavis


access_3a_adams-190x192Darryl Adams
Coachella Valley Unified School District (CA)
Twitter Handle: @DrAdamsCVUSD



access_3a_rosenworcel-190x192Jessica Rosenworcel
Federal Communications Commission
Twitter Handle: @JRosenworcel



access_3a_wise-192x190Bob Wise
Alliance for Excellent Education
Twitter Handle: @BobWise48



About Coachella Valley USD

Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), located in southern California, is taking remarkable actions to ensure that all of its students have equitable access to the internet. The district serves approximately 19,000 students and about 80 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. CVUSD serves a 100-square-mile area and some students live as far as two hours away from school, making internet access difficult or even nonexistent.

Since many CVUSD students do not have internet access at home, CVUSD has taken steps to close the “homework gap” by outfitting school buses with wireless routers. After buses complete their stops for the day, they are parked in rural or low-income communities, allowing students to stay connected. Solar panels have been added to some of these buses to extend wireless access through the night. Last year, the CVUSD school board approved the purchase of routers for ninety-seven school buses, ten of which were outfitted with solar panels, expanding connectivity across the district.

For more information about CVUSD’s “WiFi on Wheels” program, check out the links below.

#DLDay Live Schedule
Partner Events
Hosted By: EdTechTeam
White House Summit: Welcome to Coachella Valley
Future Ready Leaders Video Series: 24/7 Connectivity
PBS Newshour: Wifi-enabled school buses leave no child offline

Explore the Issue: Digital Equity and Access

According to recent survey data from the Pew Research Center, more than 5 million American households with school-age children between the ages of 6 and 17 do not have access to high-speed internet at home. Furthermore, a disproportionate share of those 5 million households are comprised of low-income African-American and Latino families. Even in low- and moderate-income families where some form of internet access is available, survey data also reveals that smartphones and tablets are often the primary means used to get online. The inequities in access to high-speed internet and the limitations imposed by mobile device access create barriers for some students while accelerating learning for others.
Digital Equity & The Lifeline Program
Alliance for Excellent Education: Lifeline Fact Sheet
PEW Research: Numbers Behind the Homework Gap
Hechinger Report:Is this FCC Program a Solution?
Blog: Four Creative Ways To Close Connectivity Gaps
FCC: Lifeline Consumer Guide
FCC: Proposal to Modernize Lifeline
HuffPost Education: Bridging the Homework Gap