Note: WiFi Hotspot Applications for 2023-24 are open now. Hotspot distribution will begin on August 14, 2022.
Accessibility to WiFi is an important success factor for students at school and home. Our survey results from families indicate that a large majority of families have access to consistent and high-speed internet at-home. However, there are about 5% of our families who struggle with having reliable access to the internet at their residence. To serve these students in the early stages of iREACH, we are partnering throughout the community with business and industry, in the service and government sectors, and other groups and individuals to level the playing field by providing access close to the home or in the home of every student. Following is a summary of the options students have available to them for iREACH educational work:
- The MCS network provides high-speed internet in all district school facilities. You will find that district issued devices have access to Wi-Fi outside the building in many cases, especially at the main entrance to each school. Check with your school administrator, technology coordinator, or librarian to learn more about the hours and locations of available service.
- Mobile Hot Spots (allowing free access to the internet) are available for check-out in our schools. These are especially helpful when a student knows they have a big assignment they will be working on over a weekend or for a few days when Wi-Fi is required for completion. Likewise, hot spots are also helpful for field trips, as well as team or group travel. Multiple students can sign-on to the same mobile hot spot, so please coordinate use during travel. Contact your school technology coordinator, help desk, or librarian for more information.
- EVERY-1-CONNECTED is a program designed to give students with the greatest need and no or limited internet access away from school the opportunity to receive a hot spot on loan for the school year. This program was made possible by a federal grant, funds provided by the school district, and help from the Maryville City Schools Foundation. See your technology coordinator to request an application or call Sharon at 982-7121 to see how you can help families in need by contributing to this program.
In cooperation with the Blount County Chamber Partnership, we are building a directory of community businesses - called Free Wi-Fi Zone. This database is a great resource to find free Wi-Fi locations near your home. Go to http://www.blountchamber.com/community/freewifizone/ to learn more.
Many local churches and non-profit organizations will allow students to use private Wi-Fi for educational purposes. If you live in the vicinity of such an organization, do not hesitate to contact them about your student’s needs. In addition, should they have questions and need to speak with someone in the school district, please ask them to call us at (865) 982-7121.
Several low cost internet service programs are available for families who qualify for free or reduced price meals at school. Depending on qualifications, some services charge as little as $5 per month. At this time, we are aware of the following potential programs:
Should questions or concerns arise, please call our district office at (865) 982-7121. Maria Greene, Communications and Special Programs Coordinator, would be happy to discuss your specific needs or ideas regarding internet access for your student(s).