Originally posted on ATT.com
As millions of students shift to distance learning because of COVID-19, small businesses focused on education are critical to ensuring that transition is successful. But small businesses are facing growing economic uncertainty. Nationwide, about 25% of them – those with fewer than 250 employees – are in “immediate risk”1 of closing. That’s 2 million small businesses, employing about 27.5 million Americans.
To support the critical work these companies do every day, AT&T is providing $1.2 million in contributions from our Distance Learning and Family Connections fund to 7 AT&T Aspire Accelerator alumni companies from across the country – Boddle, CareerVillage, CommonLit, LiftEd, ListenWise, LitLab and TalkingPoints.
These companies are all female or minority-led and founded, and focus on reaching underserved communities.
“Training is one of the U.S. Black Chambers’ five pillars. We understand that to grow our economies as well as our communities, we need proper training and education resources,” said Ron Busby, Sr. President & CEO, U.S. Black Chambers. “At a time when so many small businesses are struggling to make ends meet, we commend AT&T for stepping in to support small businesses by providing vital education services to students at risk of falling behind because of the COVID-19 crisis. We are excited and look forward to continuing to work with AT&T.”
Learn more about how these small businesses2 are using AT&T’s contributions to scale platforms and tools to reach more students, parents and educators during this critical time:
Boddle provides adaptive math practice and assessments through a fun game. They’re investing to make Boddle free for teachers and parents through the end of the school year, to adapt the platform to support parents as educators at home as well as for features that make the platform accessible to ESL learners.
CommonLit will release 6 weeks of new at-home learning content serving grades 6-12 for the remainder of the academic year. Materials will include vocabulary and reading activities that are standards-aligned and optimized to reach students in all learning environments, including on phones and tablets. These distance learning sets will be published and made available to all CommonLit teachers and students free of charge on a rolling basis so that schools can start using them immediately.
CareerVillage.org provides online career advice to underrepresented youth from a wide range of backgrounds by crowdsourcing the answers to every question from every student about every career. CareerVillage.org will expand access to an estimated 70,000 online learners affected by school closures and the rapidly changing job market.
LiftEd helps improve outcomes for the one in five students who learn differently. With this new funding, they’ll develop LiftED for Families – a HIPAA/FERPA-compliant communication hub to connect educators with parents through 2-way secure text messaging with language translation & live video, parent progress monitoring tools, file sharing for instructional support materials and private chat for school teams.
ListenWise believes that listening is powerful. They curate engaging audio stories from podcasts public radio and wrap teaching supports around them, allowing teachers to assess students’ listening skills. ListenWise will make their platform free for parents and teachers interested in using these powerful resources to amplify learning from home.
LitLab provides a combination of bilingual online and offline resources to young children and their families to help build a strong learning foundation. LitLab will provide Kidappolis School Education, a mobile app that enables parents to use screen time as deep learning time, to serve 25,000 low-income and emergent bilingual families free of charge.
TalkingPoints uses text messaging and a mobile app to connect and coach teachers and parents, for family engagement and communication in the parent’s native language. Talking Points will focus on expanding access to an additional 500,000 educators and families affected by school closures, prioritizing high needs areas to enable human connections, and developing distance learning and family-facing resources and content.