Helping Students Who Can't Learn At Home.
October 2018, St. Louis, MO - In 1992 Project Appleseed began as one of the first non-profits in America to employ the Internet as a tool for education reform. Washington University provided our organization with its first “Gopher” site and e-mail address - years before the web and commercial e-mail was common. The Gopher ecosystem is the predecessor of the World Wide Web and “Wash U.” was one of the first universities to have an Internet connection because of its research with the Department of Defense. Over the years Project Appleseed has benefited from many partnerships that the university has provided including Total Quality Schools with the Olin School of Business and the Brown School of Social Work. Today we thank the Brown School of Social Work again for their enormous contributions to this plan of action.
50% of students in St. Louis City have no Internet. This #homeworkgap keeps thousands of students from learning at home. Parents can't be fully involved and most job applications are online. The brilliant graduate students in Social Work at Washington University have completed a research analysis and recommendations for Project Appleseed's plan to eliminate the digital divide in St. Louis.
Roughly three-in-ten adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year don’t own a smartphone. Nearly half don’t have home broadband services or a traditional computer. And a majority of lower-income Americans are not tablet owners. By comparison, many of these devices are nearly ubiquitous among adults from households earning $100,000 or more a year, According to the Pew Research Center.
"I want to thank Project Appleseed's partners at Washington University's Brown School of Social Work and the Gephardt Institute for their continued support in connecting struggling families to schools, jobs, and economic opportunity," said Project Appleseed president Kevin Walker.
According to the analysis done by the Brown graduate school team, "Advocating for free and consistently accessible Internet would allow students and their families to eliminate one of the barriers they face in increasing parental engagement and student success.
The first step in school improvement is family engagement. The first step in family engagement is communication. Project Appleseed has targeted 8,800 low-income families in North St. Louis City and County - St. Louis, Ferguson-Florissant, Jennings, Normandy, Riverview Gardens and University City. Project Appleseed is asking the parents of these students to volunteer in schools.
In exchange Project Appleseed and its partners provide training, a tablet or laptop computer, software and high-speed broadband to eliminate the "homework gap" - academic and technology gaps at home. Some 5 million school-age children do not have a broadband Internet connection at home, with low-income households accounting for a disproportionate share
The digital divide has been a central topic in tech circles for decades with researchers, advocates and policymakers examining this issue. Just last month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai reiterated his commitment to bringing high-speed internet services to low-income communities, though there are partisan differences in views of how this should be carried out.
With your help, we can move closer to our common goal: that all families in St. Louis have access to the Internet and the tools they need to use it. Project Appleseed is a national partner with EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit working to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet service and computers, and free digital literacy courses accessible to all unconnected Americans. We aim to leverage the democratizing power of the Internet to provide opportunity to all Americans – regardless of age, race, geography, income, or education level.
Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities (Practice II) is a required foundation course at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work (Brown School). Students apply their academic learning to community-engaged projects at organizations in the St. Louis area. Through these projects, students have the opportunity to develop social work skills in community-based settings and learn from professionals. Organizations benefit from the skills and expertise of Brown students in completion of a defined project. The Brown School partners with the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement to develop the community projects for this course.
Mr. Walker is a graduate of the joint certificate program called Total Quality Schools at Washington University. Quality School is a collaborative effort between Olin Business School, Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and St. Louis area public schools. Student teams work with administrators, teachers, and parents to implement total quality initiatives that improve school procedures and processes. Mr. Walker was a guest lecturer and student supervisor from 1996-2001.
Project Appleseed is part of EveryoneOn, a partnership of IT companies, nonprofits and foundations that connect low-income Americans to the Internet. EveryoneOn.org is promoted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and supported by Comcast, Cox, Freedom Pop, Arrow Electronics and CDI Computer Dealers. Nationally our partnership receives financial support from the Knight Foundation, Carlos Slim Foundation, the Wasserman Foundation, Citi, and Microsoft. Project Appleseed and MyFamily@School are nonprofit programs administered independently of any school, school district or government agency.