12 HISD middle schools join Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program

Twelve Houston Independent School District middle schools are among the latest campuses to be selected for participation in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program, which addresses barriers to digital inclusion.

In addition to free mobile devices and accompanying 30GB 4G LTE data plans, participating schools will be assigned a full-time coach to train teachers in effectively integrating technology into their lessons.

Verizon’s education initiative is in partnership with Digital Promise, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to spur innovation in education.

“Verizon’s program is a wonderful parallel provision to the district having supplied our students with devices and hotspots to facilitate virtual and in-person learning since the pandemic began,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “Our students must remain digitally connected long after the pandemic is over in order to maximize their 21st century learning experience.”

HISD schools that are joining the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program for the 2021-2022 school year are:

  • Clifton Middle School
  • Fondren Middle School
  • Fonville Middle School
  • Forest Brook Middle School
  • Hamilton Middle School
  • Key Middle School
  • Lawson Middle School
  • Marshall Middle School
  • Meyerland Performing & Visual Arts Middle School
  • Navarro Middle School
  • Ortiz Middle School
  • Revere Middle School

Six HISD middle schools previously were accepted into the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program in spring 2020. They were Edison, Fleming, Hartman, Henry, Holland and Tanglewood middle schools.

“As we are all aware, so many students across the nation are in need of access to technology and the skills needed to be successful in our digital world,” said Darlene Brugnoli, director of Verizon government affairs. “On behalf of Verizon, we are excited that more students in the Houston ISD will have the resources they need to thrive in today’s digital world for a more promising future.”

After a rigorous competitive process, HISD was identified by Digital Promise, the Verizon Foundation’s nonprofit partner, as meeting all criteria for participation in the cohorts. Each VILS partner school receives an in-kind award of Chromebooks for all students, teachers, and administrators, professional development, and digital instructional resources.

Each Chromebook is equipped with a data plan that provides “always-available” access outside of the classroom. Funds are provided for a full-time campus instructional technologist dedicated to providing teachers with support to effectively leverage technology in the classroom. The VILS program lasts two years, with the possibility of a two-year extension after the second year.

Verizon’s education initiative addresses barriers to digital inclusion and is a key program under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. Verizon Innovative Learning, which launched in 2012, has reached more than 212,000 students and 14,000 teachers nationwide across 264 middle and high schools.

To date, Verizon has invested more than $535 million in market value toward science, technology,  engineering and mathematics (STEM) education efforts, impacting more than 480,000 students across the nation.