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PAISD seniors picking up tablets to finish school work ahead of graduation

The Port Arthur Independent School District is making devices available for 12th-grade students during a tablet rollout initiative.

Tablets are being distributed to graduating senior students through April 27. Days are subject to change.

Curbside pickup is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parents will need to fill out a complete form available at paisd.org before picking up the device. Students will not be able to receive a device without the completed form.

Memorial High School Technology Director Anthony Jackson said the initiative is a way to prepare students to access the online learning the district has provided.

“We have students that may not have those devices at home,” he said. “We want them to be able to continue that learning in anyway they can.”

The focus remains on graduating seniors to ensure all coursework and graduation requirements are fulfilled in order to receive their diploma and attend college in the fall.

“For a senior to graduate they have to have so many credits and master those subjects,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure that they can take their education and their learning serious in order to get the grade and credit they need to graduate.”

Port Arthur ISD Superintendent Mark Porterie said if any tablets remain after distribution, school officials would begin distributing them to juniors and below.

“We started with the seniors and we are going to move down for students that need one, not just want one,” he said. “These are for students that are in need of a device to continue their academics. We want to give every child the ability to keep learning. We are in the business of teaching children and we want them to have every opportunity to be successful, learn and communicate.”

Tablets must be returned upon completion of school year assignments.

Households that receive a tablet but do not have Wi-Fi or Internet can opt to use free or low-cost services currently available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several cell phone service and Internet providers are offering access to free or reduced Internet.

Spectrum is offering Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who do not already pay for a subscription.

To enroll, call 844-488-8395. Installation fees are waived.

AT&T is also offering low-cost wireline home Internet service to qualifying households with at least one resident who participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or those without outstanding debt for AT&T services within the last six months. The address must be within the 21-state service area.

To inquire, visit att.com/shop/internet/.