The Peekskill, NY school district is beginning its 2020-2021 school year in September. It is doing a hybrid teaching model until the Covid-19 pandemic is more fully abated. On some days, students will be in class and on other days they will be at home learning on-line. To help ensure that students are getting a quality education, the Peekskill City School District reallocated a portion of their funds to purchase Chromebooks for every student. However, many Peekskill families have financial constraints and do not have internet access. The students need high-speed Wi-Fi access to take part in the educational virtual programs.
The Peekskill Education Foundation (PEF) is spearheading fundraising efforts to bring Wi-Fi access to students in need through the purchase of "Mi-Fi" wireless routers ("mobile Wi-Fi"). There are about 1,200 students in the district without internet access. The cost of a Mi-Fi hotspot is $240, which includes a one-year subscription offered at a discount rate by T Mobile Program for Schools. Each Mi-Fi powers 5 devices. Peekskill does not have local Wi-Fi "hotspots".
PEF is a community-based 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enriching and expanding the educational experience and cultural opportunities for students in the Peekskill City School District. It is comprised mostly of district parents.
The Peekskill City School district is has 3,313 students in kindergarten through grade 12. 83% qualify for free or reduced cost lunch. In 2018, 67.2% were Hispanic/Latino; 20.1% Black/African American; 2.9% multiracial; 8.3% White; and 1.9% Asian. 26% are former English language learners.
Peekskill Rotary has supported PEF and the school district in the past, and PEF reached out to us for our support. PEF and the Peekskill Technology Equity Community Coalition have together raised $40,435, as of September 15, 2020, and Peekskill Rotary's commitment brings the total to $42,435. This will allow the District to purchase 175 Mi-Fi wireless routers.