Early College High School (ECHS) is not your typical high school. It’s actually a joint venture between Salem-Keizer Public Schools (Oregon) and Chemeketa Community College. Its mission is to support under-served but motivated Salem-Keizer students by providing these students with excellent high school academic programs while creating a pathway to college classes at Chemeketa. Due to the economic situation of many of its students, however, under-served often means under-resourced.

So when Lorelei Gilmore, Principal at ECHS, realized that lack of Internet access beyond the classroom was keeping many of these students from achieving success she worked with Steven Hoffert, Manager of Technology and Information Services, to find a solution. In doing some investigation into possible solutions, Steven reached out to Mobile Citizen. By purchasing Mobile Citizen’s low-cost accounts and making them available via scholarship to these students, Early College High School was able to turn learning obstacles into learning opportunities.

Turning learning obstacles into learning opportunities

  • Students with web-based homework can take it with them, no longer having to choose between catching the last bus home or finishing up their work.
  • Homeless students moving from place to place have continuous access.
  • Students who have more than one primary residence, for example moving between separated parents, have Internet access even when on the go.
  • Students who need to leave final exams to pick up children at daycare are able to complete exams off campus.

“In addition, studies have shown that when our kids are engaged with technology, absenteeism goes down.”

-Lorelei Gilmore, Principal, Early College High School

So what’s next?

Early College High School’s laptop/mobile Internet pilot program was so successful; they are in the process of expanding it to reach more students. As a school long grounded in the use of Google docs, technology hasn’t shifted the curriculum as much as it has shifted teaching styles. Teachers are now able to take advantage of tools such as mobile Internet by relying on mobility and building online homework into their instruction.

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