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Beaverton Education Foundation launches connectivity campaign ahead of the upcoming school year.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Students in Beaverton work on computer coding at a school library in 2017. The Beaverton Education Foundation aims to help students in need continue connectivity at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

As students across the state head back to school in a couple of weeks, a nonprofit organization in Beaverton is making sure students have a reliable internet connection to learn from home.

In a press release on Tuesday, July 27, the Beaverton Education Foundation announced its "Back to School: Connection and Tools" campaign. The campaign is a multi-pronged approach to make sure every student in Beaverton public schools is ready to learn in a virtual classroom.

The first prong of the campaign, connectivity, aims to support students to get reliable internet so they can participate in online classes and submit their homework.

"We're trying to solve the solvable problems," said Kristine Baggett, executive director of the Beaverton Education Foundation. "We know there are a set of students, primarily in the elementary and middle school grades — 475 at latest count — that will not have reliable internet connectivity when school starts unless we step up to help as a community. Connectivity is our first point of impact for getting ready for back to school."

She added, "The school district put together several internet access programs to help families in need but this campaign is helping those who would otherwise fall through the cracks. These families might be houseless, the child is in foster care, or maybe they spend part of their time at mom's, then off to grandma's, and then to a neighbor's house."

The organization's campaign aims to pay for a wi-fi hotspot and 10 months of internet connectivity for families that can't participate in any of the connectivity programs.

According to the announcement, BEF and the Beaverton School District are working together on this project.

"We need help to fund connectivity for our most vulnerable students," said the chief information officer for Beaverton schools, Steve Langford. "We will not stop until we close the access gap and all our students have the connectivity they need to support their learning."

A contribution of $250 will support the connectivity needs for one family for the year, according to the foundation. Community members are asked to consider donating if they have the means.

"Coming together as a village, we can make sure all students in our community are ready for the first day of school, no matter what that first day ends up looking like," said Baggett.

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