Here’s the truth: It’s tough to be a successful student, or a successful adult, without access to technology. This became plain as day during the pandemic, when we saw thousands of kids unable to attend school because they lacked computers and/or internet access for Zoom classes. Students’ need for modern tech extends into research, creating work, submitting work, collaborating with classmates and more. You would not have access to this blog without a computer, phone or tablet.
The Fremont Bank Foundation stepped up to the plate to support education back in 2020, as it is doing now. Our mission is to enable communities to thrive, and education is a critical component of every thriving community. The two projects discussed below are excellent examples of our ongoing impact on education here in the Bay Area.
It’s hard to believe there are students in Mountain View, California, in the center of Silicon Valley’s wealth and technology, who don’t have internet access. But there are. The Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD) serves 11 primary schools and middle schools, and some of its students live in cars or RVs, or are completely without shelter. How are they supposed to access the internet? Read on and you’ll see.
A Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) network using long-term evolution (LTE) radios will expand the district’s internet coverage to most of Mountain View. Once used only by the military, CBRS technology can now be utilized by any organization. Phones, laptops and other devices also can use the CBRS network.
Mountain View students using one of the Whisman School District’s CBRS routers are able to connect to the internet – and the world – beyond the school walls. But the district was short on routers.
Through a grant from the Fremont Bank Foundation, the district was able to buy Google Chromebooks with CBRS radios built in. The Google Chromebooks are a smart solution to two issues: offering internet access to more students off school grounds and reducing the number of devices and power needed through a single device.
“Some of our students experiencing homelessness are living in cars or RVs and don’t have reliable access to power,” said Jon Aker, director of Technology Services at MVWSD. “Fremont Bank Foundation’s generous donation of Chromebooks with CBRS radios built in will make it easier for these students to access the network, as there is only one device that needs to be powered. This is a win-win for the students and our district.”
One small step for students, one giant leap for the Mountain View community.
Over in the East Bay, New Haven Unified School District (NHUSD), a public school district serving approximately 11,000 students at 11 schools, is piloting an exciting new curriculum through a program with the University of California, Davis.
The goal is to boost both interest in and comprehension of math by engaging students in coding and robotics. Innovative programs like these take significant financial resources for not just the robotics equipment but also teacher training. Our Foundation’s donation helps make all that possible!
All eyes are on this fall, when the C-STEM (computing, science, technology, engineering and mathematics) pilot will be rolled out at Hayward’s Hillview Crest Elementary School and Union City’s Cesar Chavez Middle School.
“This grant will help provide a new way of teaching mathematics to students who have historically struggled, not only in the NHUSD, but across the country,” said NHUSD Superintendent John Thompson. “Our hope is that we will be able to create a higher level of interest in mathematics, and science as well, at an early age so that these students will be in the position to access all of the courses we offer in our schools. We’re very grateful to Fremont Bank Foundation for its incredible support of education.”
Education and youth are key pillars of Fremont Bank’s and our Foundation’s areas of corporate philanthropy funding – and they’re key pillars in building a vibrant community. When individuals can discover and fulfill their full potential, the whole community benefits. Together, we’re committed to supporting organizations that encourage Bay Area youth to experiment, grow and thrive through opportunities to expand their minds, capabilities and futures.