WEST JEFFERSON — With an enduring commitment to public education across the cooperative’s five-county service area, SkyLine Membership Corporation has announced the re-emergence of its technology grant program with a renewed focus on student connectivity.
Like the original grant program that helped to enhance technology in the classroom—namely by bringing new Smart Board systems to school classrooms across the co-op’s service area from 2006 through 2014—the SkyLine/SkyBest Student Connect Grant Program seeks to bridge the technology gap by linking fiber-based Internet access directly to the homes of those students who lack this critical tool to facilitate academic success due to need or challenging circumstances.
As a key community partner to education and architect of the most advanced fiber network in the region, SkyLine values the collaborative relationships formed with area school systems that result in a level playing field for all students and opportunity for greater student enrichment and success. SkyLine has designated technology-based resources to this program, and the timing of its debut cannot come at a more critical time of need in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The inaugural grant is providing at-home fiber broadband connectivity for up to 75 students throughout the co-op’s five-county service area. Each school system determines student eligibility, based on criteria of need or special circumstances, and whose families live in communities served by SkyLine’s Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTP) network. SkyLine also extended the opportunity for school systems to provide funding for a 1:1 match for this inaugural program if additional need exists.
“We know that broadband accessibility is a common requirement for all educational settings, and the pandemic has further intensified that reality,” said SkyLine CEO Kim Shepherd. “SkyLine realizes that it also has a role to play in partnering with education to enhance technology in our schools that give all students a more equal opportunity for success. We hope this new funding effort will accelerate efforts to fill that critical need.”
SkyLine Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Edward Hinson, PR Administrator Karen Powell and Strategic Sales Supervisor Brent Keith have met with officials from all five school system to announce the new annual initiative, and the process to extend broadband connectivity to these students is well underway.
For more information about the program, visit www.skybest.com/StudentConnectGrant
or contact the designated grant program coordinators at the central office of the five county public school systems: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Watauga and Johnson (Tn.).