Connections for Classrooms (CFC) was a competitive grant program joining multiple state agencies around the common goal of ensuring Georgia schools and classrooms have the high-speed broadband access required for digital and blended learning. The program invested more than $92 million in grant awards from the following two sources:
- Bond funds appropriated to the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE)
- State general funds appropriated to the OneGeorgia Authority at the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) managed the funds.
The program was part of a broader statewide effort to expand classroom high-speed broadband access in response to former Governor Nathan Deal’s Digital Learning Task Force recommendations, as well as GaDOE’s efforts to enable personalized learning for Georgia students. The effort complements the expansion of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) PeachNet network to connect every Georgia Local Educational Agency (LEA) to its high-speed network. The partnership between USG and GaDOE ensured that all district central offices have 100 megabits per second per school of bandwidth as of July 2015. Connections for Classrooms offered schools the opportunity to increase network infrastructure to effectively utilize the increased bandwidth at the classroom level.
In the early spring of 2020 the United States became engulfed in the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this pandemic, most schools in the U.S., including those in the State of Georgia began virtual schooling with students doing classes from home. In order to assist with the requirements for virtual learning, the Connections for Classrooms Program made two emergency Round 5 grants. The first grant for $999,726.30 for mobile Wi-Fi hot spot antennas for schools and communities around the state. The second grant for $96,000.00 helped pay for the broadband service associated with the additional needs for the virtual online schooling.
The 2021 final report summarizes the CFC program activities from the beginning of the program through the end of the program on June 30, 2021.