What is it?
The CyberBus is a mobile classroom equipped with computers and internet access that will reach out into under-resourced communities in the Pittsburgh area. The CyberBus will provide out-of-school time classes in computer science education to students in grades K-8 as well as digital literacy and business development classes to parents.
Why did it start?
The disruptions brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic and subsequent economic upheaval have exposed significant inequities that will play out as our public educational systems adapt and incorporate a virtual learning environment. Many students from under-resourced communities do not have computer access at home, nor do they have a support network to help them with their educational goals. When schools, libraries and recreation centers closed during Covid, children in our under-priviledged communities were at greater risk of falling further behind their more affluent peers due to lack of resources. The CyberBus will be an educational community asset and help students and parents get back on track.
Who does it support?
The Bus Stops Here Foundation, STEM Coding Lab, and the Pittsburgh Housing Authority strive to put the needs of underserved students, especially children of color, first and foremost in all they do. The CyberBus project will partner with public and charter schools, after school programs, and neighborhood associations on the Northside, in Homewood, Troy Hill, McKees Rocks and other under-served communities in the Pittsburgh area. While our target age group is elementary school age children, we also envision hosting classes for parents of our students. Aiding parents in learning computer skills will help them personally and empower them to be able to help their children as well.
When will it operate?
The CyberBus will operate weekdays from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. The CyberBus will travel to a different neighborhood each day. Morning hours (10 am – noon) will be reserved for parents who want to master their computer skills, work on their GEDs or learn how to start their own business. We anticipate serving 5-8 parents each day or approximately 25-40 per week. Afternoons will be reserved for students. Each day we will host two afternoon computer programming classes; each class will serve 10-15 students daily or approximately 50-75 per week. Trained staff will be available to assist all students and parents in meeting their needs.
What is the goal?
The “New Normal” requires us to rethink our standard approach to education and our efforts to mitigate the digital divide. The CyberBus concept is a unique and novel method to locate our “mobile school” at the point of most need – the very communities that need the equipment, resources and the opportunity to get on the digital path to success and upward mobility. Our goal is to help bridge the gap between conventional education and technology in our underprivileged communities.
How can I get involved?
There are various ways to get involved including: volunteering, participating, donating, or sponsoring an event! Some upcoming events to look out for are The CyberBus Project launch, Caring for Kids Gala, and Holiday Toy Drive. More information to come!