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Montezuma-Cortez still offering hot spots to students in need

Families can pick up hot spots at the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 office or at their children’s schools.
Unlimited internet access will be provided through February

Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 still has hot spots available for families at each of its schools, said Angela Sauk, former district grant manager and current principal at Lewis and Pleasant View Elementary.

The district accumulated 500 hot spots through the Connecting Colorado Students Grant. They will help link students to the virtual world through February.

After that point, the district hopes to extend the program to enable remote internet access through the end of the school year with other federal grants, she said.

Parents just need to fill out a form, and can pick up hot spots at the district office or at their child’s school, she said.

The district provided more than one hot spot to families with multiple students.

“I have heard nothing but positive feedback from parents,” Sauk said.

She said the district was able to solve connectivity issues in areas that “in the past historically were not getting service.”

RE-1 partnered with T-Mobile to do this, as the wireless network operator had already embarked on its own initiative: Project 10Million.

“We piggybacked off of their 10Million project,” Sauk said.

T-mobile's project provided hot spots and internet access for “homework help,” supplying a certain amount of data. The district covered the remaining costs to provide unlimited access for families, she said.

The district received two disbursements through the program. A federal grant was given in the fall, and a state grant in January.

Under the state grant, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe was provided a year of free internet access for families with students.

This year, the RE-1 school district has released instruction that Google Classroom will be used as a platform for supporting student education in quarantine.

At an Aug. 17 school district meeting, Assistant Superintendent Lis Richard said fewer than five families chose remote learning for their children this school year.

While less than 1% of students were enrolled in online learning at that time, Richard said the district anticipated that number to climb to anywhere from 5% to 10%.