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By Marybel Rodriguez

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Orchard Villa Elementary student Christina Lafleur was all smiles Tuesday morning after receiving her very own laptop to take home.

“Mommy can you do this with me tomorrow,” she asked.

Christiana is one of hundreds of pre-K Miami-Dade County public school students who are getting a jump start on their education through the CONNECT@HOME distribution program.

“It means so much to me, to get home now and while I’m getting dinner ready she is on her laptop working on the programs and not watching cartoons all the time,” said Christina’s mom Miderge

Two years ago Miami-Dade Public schools launched the initiative to eliminate the digital divide in elementary schools in the areas where there are needed most.

“We have to recognize in schools like Orchard Villa, where one hundred percent of the kids live below the poverty level, many parents do not have access to internet at home, or a computer themselves, so kids stop learning with the last bell,” said schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

So not only will the students continue to learn at home but through the program the parents are also being taught.

“It is more than great being a teacher. If I could use another synonym for what is happening here today it would be the greatest ever,” said School Board member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall

“I think she will be learning a lot more. She is already engaged in the classroom. She comes home and asks about things she learns so now she will be able to take it a step further,” said Miderge Lafleur.

The students selected for the program all receive free laptops. If they do not have internet access at home, Sprint is providing them with hotspots.

On Tuesday, a total of 39 laptops were distributed. So far 320 have been given out in Miami-Dade County public school whose goal is for 450 pre-K students to have their own laptops by the end year.


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