Community Engagement Committee - Fairfax County, VA
Internet Access For Low-Income Students

Connect2CompeteAs technology plays a larger role in our schools it becomes more important for all students to have home access to technology and the Internet. Many students have little or no access to the Internet away from school. This places them at a disadvantage. To address this problem the FCPS’s “Access 4 All Committee” has been working to support three programs that make it possible for low-income families to obtain computers and Internet access at home at reduced or no costs.

The first program is Cox Communications’s “Connect2Compete” initiative that allows families receiving “Free Lunch” support to obtain Internet access for $10.00 a month.  It also provides those families with support and the opportunity to purchase computers at low cost. Attached are English and Spanish language flyers from Cox that provide details concerning this program.

Comcast’s “

Internet EssentialsInternet Essentials” is the second program. This program is similar to Cox’s “Connect2Compete” initiative with the primary difference in that students on both “Free AND Reduced Lunch” are eligible for it. Details of Comcast program are found in the attached English and Spanish Comcast flyers .

The last program is the FCPS’s “MiFi Checkout Program”. This program provides schools the opportunity to purchase cellular “MiFi” devices to checkout to students to gain Internet access at home.  The school checkout programs also include the loan of computer devices. The school funds to purchase MiFi Devices and computers are limited; the program is not funded by the FCPS central budget. Schools taking advantage of the program do so on an optional basis, using donations they receive. PTA units may want to consider helping address the Internet access problem by making donations to their schools or schools with high numbers of student without home access. Details concerning the “MiFiCheckout Program” are available from the attached “Access4All” flyer. More information on the Access4All program is available at

Posted on March 4th, 2014

COTS and the FCPS FY15 Budget Public Hearings



During the Public Hearing before the School Board on the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget last week, COTS shared its concern that the Superintendent did not recommend that the school system ask the Board of supervisors for enough money to avoid cuts to programs important to COTS kids – like needs based staffing and summer school.  COTS’ members testimony can be read here: 
FCPS School Board Public Hearing No.4 – FY 2015 Advertised Budget

Watch the video of the FCPS Budget hearing!  Dr. Lolita Mancheno-Smoak, Avis Catchings, Tina Hone and other COTS representatives testify beginning at the 53 minute mark.

The Board of Supervisors must also hear from COTS!  Public hearings before the Board of Supervisors on the County Budget are scheduled for April 8, 9 and 10.  Sign up is already open.  Please, sign up to speak on behalf of COTS kids!  
You can sign up to speak by calling the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors at 703-324-3151.  You can also sign up online at  When you sign up to speak, please say you are testifying on behalf of the Coalition of The Silence.  We must show our strength as a Coalition.  Stay tuned for information on future conference calls to go over key message points and develop powerful testimony! 
Between now and the Board of Supervisors public hearings, COTS has and will continue to meet with individual members of the Board of Supervisors.  In these meetings, COTS shows its support for Superintendent Garza but also expresses our legitimate disappointment that she did not ask for enough funding to avoid cuts to summer school and needs based staffing.  COTS also shares its profound concern that given the magnitude of student growth in FCPS, if the BOS does not provide adequate funding, all kids will suffer in FCPS – not just COTS kids.

Posted on February 7th, 2014

FCPS Computer Technology Program “FCCPTATech Blog”

FCC PTAThe Fairfax County County of PTAs, FCCPTA has recently announced the creation of a blog on the use of computer technology by FCPS students and teachers, both at school and home, and it is seeking your participation, as members of the community and stakeholders of this program. “FCCPTATech Blog” will allow members of the community – students, parents, teachers, FCPS staff, and members of the general public — to engage in a discussion on the use of technology in our schools.
Readers of the blog will be able to submit comments and suggestions about any aspect of the FCPS technology program. Viewers will also find a list of “Policy Impact Questions” that the FCCPTA requests you consider and, if appropriate, comment upon questions such as:
  • Should Teachers Be Required to Integrate Technology?
  • Who Is Teaching Students the Computer Technology They Need to Know?
  • Can School Based Technology Specialists Make a Difference?
  • Should students be permitted to know more about technology than teachers?
  • Should Students Be Tested on their Knowledge of Computer Technology?
  • Can Smart Phones Provide Adequate, Equal Student Access?
  • Can there be equal education without equal student access to computer technology?
  • What’s the impact of teachers knowing less about computer technology than students do?
President Ramona Morrow is encouraging the community to spread the word about this brand new blog and hopefully your participation!  You can find the blog at

Posted on December 16th, 2013

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