• 54°

Editorial: Communities in Schools connects students to better future

Bannister

Scott Bannister is executive director of Communities in Schools of Rowan County.

Scott Bannister is executive director of Communities in Schools of Rowan County.

The digital playing field will become more level this fall for some of the students who participate in Communities in Schools of Rowan County. The program will provide wireless “MiFi” wireless hotspots so students who have no internet access at home can get online.

If this bold step proves to be productive, education advocates should look at ways to expand use of the devices to more students. The lack of internet access in lower-income homes has been a barrier to full use of digital devices provided by the Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

Scott Bannister, executive director of Communities in Schools here, announced the new initiative at a breakfast meeting with CIS staff and supporters on Tuesday. He said the devices will go to CIS students who are identified as most in need of help. The agency is using a grant to buy the handy hotspots — each one is about the size of a smart phone — and the students will not be charged for broadband use.

Communities in Schools, a United Way agency, is accustomed to filling gaps. A dropout prevention program, Communities in Schools trains and assigns volunteers to help struggling students; in Rowan, they go to five elementary and two middle schools. As tutors and mentors, the volunteers give students the individual attention that teachers cannot provide for everyone. In many cases, the volunteers also become role models and encouragers, helping students realize that education is important. Someone cares.

Of the students touched by Communities in Schools in the 2015-16 school year, 100 percent stayed in school, 92 percent were promoted to the next grade, 84 percent improved academically, 80 percent improved behavior, 63 percent improved social and emotional learning and 58 percent met attendance goals.

Having an iPad or laptop with access to the internet is not going to overcome all the challenges those students face. Without home internet access, though, they are at an automatic disadvantage.

There are lots of questions about how these hotspots will work. Bannister said they include controls that limited which devices they can be used on. The internet has as many pitfalls as positives; how that will be controlled or directed is another question. But these devices are a considerable step up from students having to find WiFi. The school system has worked with local companies and agencies to identify hotspots across the county where students can get online, but getting to them is not always easy for students whose parents are working  or don’t have a car.

Kudos to Communities in Schools for helping students connect to the internet — and a better future.

Comments

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month

Local

City makes some appointments to local boards, holds off on others to seek women, appointees of color

Education

Education briefs: RCCC instructor honored by Occupational Therapy Association

Local

Second quarter financial update shows promising outlook for city’s budget

Columnists

Genia Woods: Let’s talk about good news in Salisbury

Local

City attorney will gather more information for Salisbury nondiscrimination ordinance