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A trusted education technology provider is engaged to boost educational outcomes at Dallas school

AT&T is implementing a comprehensive future-driven technology plan that encompasses school infrastructure improvements, a full 1:1 tablet solution and the development of apps that digitize the school’s social emotional learning strategies

At the Momentous School in Dallas, a program powered by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, all students are instructed through a variety of brain-compatible approaches and given learning opportunities that are built upon caring, respectful relationships. The school serves 248 students from age 3 through fifth grade, 87 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch. Students are tracked for success all the way through college graduation.

“We see excellent academic results,” says Heather Bryant, director of innovation and impact for the Momentous Institute. “In the last three years, 97 percent of students who attended the Momentous school graduated high school and 86 percent went on to higher education—and 88 percent of those re-enrolled for their sophomore year.” While the school was well-equipped to address students’ social emotional health and academic needs, they were least equipped in technology. “Our kids did have laptops, but Wi-Fi was not consistent throughout the building,” says Bryant.

AT&T is supporting the school through a $1.5 million contribution from AT&T Aspire, its signature philanthropic program focused on school success and workforce readiness. AT&T is also sponsor of the 2014 Byron Nelson golf tournament, which is run by the Salesmanship Club, a Dallas service organization that benefits the Momentous Institute. AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson visited the school after signing on for the tournament sponsorship. “He was incredibly impressed with the research the school was doing and the social and emotional learning strategies they were employing,” says Jessica Filante, associate director of AT&T’s public affairs department. “He wanted to enhance an already successful model and boost educational outcomes.” After performing a needs assessment, AT&T’s team improved internet access in the school by installing high-density Wi-Fi with enhanced circuits and new switches in April 2014. Three classrooms piloted Note 8 and Tab 4 tablets for a 1-to-1 program as part of the mobile access improvement program. “We did some research and found these students were very engaged with the tablets,” says Bryant. Collaboration also increased when tablets were introduced in the classroom. “Students were proactive in helping each other get to the right activity or web page,” says Filante.

One group of teachers created troubleshooting tips for their colleagues early on. “Teacher leadership is hugely important to us, and these teachers were true ambassadors of the tablets for their peers,” says Bryant. The rest of the teachers had a full week of professional development working with the devices in August before the tablets were released to all students in September. “We are implementing AT&T’s mobile security services that will enable the students to take the tablets home and get filtered content over AT&T’s 4G LTE network,” says Filante. The tablets came preloaded with vetted educational apps that support the school’s desired outcomes, such as helping students manage stress. Students are excited to use their new tools in creative ways.

“They will have an opportunity to be innovative and show their teachers what they know in a totally new way,” says Bryant. “We were already having success. But we realized this is the 21st century, and we need to prepare students for jobs we can’t even imagine by giving them the right tech tools.”

For more information, visit www.att.com/edu/k12.