Project Headphones: How a Small Idea Became a Big Support to Arlington Students

2020 has brought on a variety of new stresses for families, especially low- and moderate-income households. Children from these homes rely on school meals, after school care, as well as access to items in the classroom they don’t have at home. While students are now primarily learning from home, not having these needs filled has become magnified.

Hearing concerns such as these is what made Arlington parent of two, Cortney Weber, spring into action. “Over the summer, free meals weren’t able to be given out to school kids, so we began raising money in the community to feed families via Arlington Public Schools (APS) distribution sites,” Cortney says, “After the APS superintendent announced virtual schooling for the 2020 school year, I thought if these students aren’t even able to have their basic food needs met, then how will they be successful in this way of schooling without the proper equipment to be successful? More needed to be provided.”

Cortney took to social media groups to ask other APS parents what their children needed for their home school environments. After many replies, one item started to stand out as essential- headphones, particularly with a microphone. “In multigenerational or smaller homes, some kids don’t have their own rooms,” Cortney explains, “There are constant distractions and noises that don’t allow them to focus. Headphones help block out the noise and microphones help them communicate clearly to their teachers and peers.”

Project Headphones (PH) began as a GoFundMe page, with the mission clear: Outfit as many APS students with learning headphones as possible. Arlington Public Schools partnered with PH to establish a grant. Local news coverage quickly followed and donations came pouring in. This included $75k from Amazon who is soon to be a part of the Arlington community with a headquarters opening there. As of today, Project Headphones has exceeded the fundraiser goal which enables them to equip thousands of students with headphones.

AVID continues its dedication to connecting students for success by partnering with PH to provide the reliable AE-36, a headset model with noise-reducing ear cups and a noise-canceling microphone that is designed specifically for education and ideal for online learning. APS schools can rely on AVID Customer Care for any additional needs or questions.

“All students deserve the same opportunities for success no matter their income. This is only the beginning of bridging the gap,” Cortney continues, “Even more, we need to listen to students and include them in the decisions of what works best for online learning. They may suggest better solutions than anything we have come up with.”


Congratulations to #ProjectHeadphones for exceeding your goal!

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Elizabeth Woodard

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