We need your help to eliminate the Homework Gap for thousands of learners!
The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) requests the assistance of telecommunications providers to help bring digital equity to learners and teachers across the state.
EQUITY and the HOMEWORK GAP
As COVID-19 continues to challenge our nation, the reality is clear: Schools and districts face a multi-pronged challenge in providing the instruction and the supports necessary to ensure that students can learn and grow despite the immense pressures surrounding them and their families.
As schools and districts move toward 1:1 and blended learning instructional models, access to digital content is essential for student success – but not all students have access to reliable Internet at home. The result is a growing problem known as the homework gap, where students without access to reliable Internet after school are unable to complete online assignments.
It’s a problem that many educators have been grappling with for years, but one that has been exacerbated—and made more public—by COVID-19: Many students lack sufficient Internet connections at home to be able to complete their schoolwork. In a matter of days, the “homework gap” widened to a full-fledged learning gap, as computers and Internet connections soared to the top of the list of required school supplies and districts made hasty plans to roll out virtual learning.
As part of its Future Ready Nebraska initiative, the Nebraska Department of Education developed the Hierarchy of Digital Learning Needs to provide a framework and touchstone for delivering and sustaining the systems needed for equitable, digital learning.
STRATEGIES for DIGITAL LEARNING NEEDS
The Hierarchy of Digital Learning Needs model is based on systems theory thinking, in that for any of the elements to work effectively, each must be solidly implemented with fidelity starting with the bottom layer. In addition, assuring equity to every student, no matter the location or situation, is a high priority of this model.
This Request for Information focuses on the first layer:
INFRASTRUCTURE - Equity of Internet access to every home.
As the base of the model, infrastructure is vital to the success of the other strategies. There are many elements to consider, including but not limited to: Urban/ rural availability, cost and data limits, and travel from home to location(s) where wireless access is available.
NDE is initiating this Request for Information (RFI) and invites all qualified Nebraska service providers to submit availability and pricing of Internet service to residential customers who are un/under-served K-20 students and teachers. Internet services will be for educational purposes, through either month-to-month or annual contracts and will be available to any or all of the following potential customer(s):
There is no guarantee that any service will be purchased, or for what length of time. This is simply a pricing and availability clearinghouse between the vendor and prospective customers who may find the service offered adequate and affordable to meet the needs of the individual or entity.
The outcome will be a published catalog of providers and services on the Nebraska Department of Education website, accessible to any parent or teacher in search of home Internet service.
DUE DATE: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2020
RFI Contact: SuAnn Witt, RFI Coordinator
Providers are asked to submit all proposals via the online form listed at the URL above.
Services Requested:Service Providers are invited to respond to any and all of the following:
In order to provide equity in access to the Internet to households of K-20 students and teachers, the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) in partnership with Educational Service Units Coordinating Council (ESUCC), Network Nebraska (NN) and others (the NDE Team), desires to work with vendors to explore technologies that may involve public infrastructure, Internet, or property.
Some examples of public-private educational partnerships include:
These are just a few examples of solutions and the NDE Team looks forward to working with interested vendors in local, regional, or statewide projects. A member of the team will reach out to you in the coming weeks after your submission.
Thank you for providing the students and teachers in the State of Nebraska with high quality Internet service to the home. The Nebraska Department of Education, along with its partners in this effort, look forward to working with you on this and future projects. If you have any questions, please contact:
RFI Contact: SuAnn Witt, RFI Coordinator