The city of Phoenix made learning a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that decision is the reason the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has named the city as a finalist for the 2022 All-America City Award.
This year’s theme is “Housing as a Platform to Promote Early School Success and Equitable Learning Recovery.”
The city’s dedication to improving digital equity and transforming non-school spaces into learning environments secured Phoenix a spot on the finalist list.
Through a variety of partnerships, the city distributed more than 12,000 laptops to 15 public school districts, many of which serve families in public housing communities. In addition, 1,600 tablets were distributed directly to families in public housing for at-home learning, and to seniors to assist them with telemedicine and more.
“We were confronted with a stark reality: only 31% of households in these communities had broadband access,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “We knew we could play a powerful role in helping students continue their studies despite difficult circumstances. By equipping them with the right tools and devices, we helped kids adjust to a challenging new at-home learning environment.”
In 2017, Phoenix was selected as a ConnectHome community through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Phoenix has been working to connect families in public housing with affordable internet service, devices and digital skills training.
The winners of the 2022 All-America City Award will be announced during a virtual event July 18-22, in conjunction with Grade Level Reading week.
Phoenix has been honored with the All-America City designation five times: 1950, 1958, 1980, 1989 and 2009.
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