DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A nonprofit that supports Dorchester District Two schools is purchasing hot spots for children. The Dorchester Two Educational Foundation will provide them for students who don’t have internet access or may not have high-speed internet.
The organization provides funding for initiatives in DD2 schools that the school has not budgeted for. For example, the nonprofit has helped to create robotic teams, STEM labs and a variety of other efforts that advance learning.
Executive director of the foundation Jennie Crosby says they love to build bridges with the school district.
"I'm not an educator myself, but I think it's fantastic when we see the power of that partnership and just how much we can make things come alive for the students when we build that community connection," Crosby said.
Due to the pandemic, annual funding for this nonprofit has been cut. Events with community partners that usually bring in money have been canceled due to coronavirus safety concerns.
The Summerville Italian Feast recently announced it would not be taking place this year. Last year it brought in about $9,000 for the Dorchester Two Educational Foundation.
The foundation also canceled its large-scale fundraising event that brought in $100,000 last year for their efforts.
“The needs are still here, maybe more so then ever. We’ve got to find creative ways to make sure kids have access to great quality education,” Crosby said.
She says, so far, the nonprofit has donated $45,000 to the school district for hotspots, but the need is greater.
"We're just working on new opportunities to make those connections and make those partnerships," Crosby said. "We've been so grateful that many of our partners have not missed a beat."
She says the hotspot devices cost $60 a month per device and it costs $250 per semester. Crosby says the hotspots are programmed to support online learning with restricted and timed access to ensure that students prioritize school work in a safe online environment.
Officials with the school district said they will ask parents about internet needs during registration and will know more next week on how many students are without access.
For the first time, the district will provide an electronic learning device for every student this upcoming school year.
You can visit the Dorchester Two Educational Foundation’s website to learn more about their efforts or to donate.