Maine DOE #ConnectKidsNow! Resources
#ConnectKidsNow! is a combined effort between the Maine Department of Education, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, ConnectME, and business and philanthropic entities, that has secured internet access and devices to facilitate at home learning for 100 percent of Maine school children for whom there was a reported need.
Need was assessed by the Department of Education through several surveys of all traditional and non-traditional public schools and private schools who serve public students to understand the connectivity needs statewide. Of the 24,123 students statewide lacking connectivity, based on data from the 84 percent of schools that responded, 16,772 students needed a wireless contract and 7,351 students needed only a device in order to have equitable access to online learning opportunities.
The need for universal connectivity was identified as the top priority of stakeholders across the state in terms of mitigating the impact from the COVID disruption. Teachers have been struggling to connect with the many students and families who do not have access to the internet.
The Administration utilized federal funds, including a portion of Maine’s $9.3 million allocation from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, which was allocated through the federal CARES Act, as well as philanthropic donations, to purchase the devices and wireless service contracts to meet the identified need for universal connectivity for Maine students.