Community partnerships create internet cafes

Stevenson-Carson School District partners with community members and area businesses to offer free Internet Cafes for students
Posted on 10/26/2020
Stevenson-Carson School District partners with community member and area businesses to offer free Internet Cafes for students

Stevenson-Carson School District now offers students access to free Internet Cafes thanks to partnerships with local businesses and community members. The Port of Skamania, the Economic Development Council, and the Stevenson-Carson Education Foundation donated space and resources to ensure all of the community’s students can have the access they need. 

“Many families in Stevenson and Carson do not have access to the Internet and that can make distance learning complicated, to say the least,” said Superintendent Ingrid Colvard. “Thanks to the dedication and generosity of several local organizations and members of our community, we’re proud to offer Internet Cafes with free high-speed access for students at different locations in our towns.” 

Stevenson-Carson School District partners with community members and area businesses to offer free Internet Cafes for studentsThe district’s Internet Cafes operate from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. each weekday and are staffed with knowledgeable school employees who can assist students, if needed. Families can reserve time-slots where students will be provided with private cubicles which will be deep-cleaned after each use to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Families can reserve time at any of the following locations:

  • North Bonneville: Reserve a time by calling (509) 219-8756 or email  
  • Stevenson High School: Reserve a time by calling (509) 219-8849 or email  
  • Wind River Middle School: Reserve a time by calling (509) 19-8794 or email  

The Port of Skamania County and the Skamania County Economic Development Council (EDC) teamed up to provide the North Bonneville location and to ensure it had the Internet access necessary to work for area students.  “When I heard most of our rural areas didn’t have fast enough internet for homes to connect effectively to learn online, I reached out to Superintendent Colvard to ask what we could do,” said Kevin Waters, Executive Director for the EDC who connected with the Port of Skamania to establish the North Bonneville location. “Being the Director of the EDC and also serving on the education foundation meant I knew we could move funds to the foundation to help the district with the cost of the cafes.”

Stevenson-Carson School District partners with community members and area businesses to offer free Internet Cafes for studentsFor Waters, a fourth-generation resident of Skamania County, the district’s small size presents its biggest strength. “The schools offer a small community atmosphere thanks to their size,” he said. “I attended K-12 here and the students in my class seemed more like family by the time we graduated; I have always appreciated that.”

Looking to the future of the area’s schools, Waters worries about the quality of student learning and the potential effects the failure of November’s replacement levy will have on the area as a whole. “Without the levy, great teachers will not want to work here and we also won’t have the money for programs to get kids involved,” he said. “Poor schools will lessen families’ want to move here or have their kids attend our schools.”

Waters, who founded Backwoods Brewing Company, owns the Maple Leaf Events Center, and rents out three cabins, sees partnerships between the schools and community businesses as key to their mutual success and leading to the improvement of educational opportunities for the community’s children. “I believe there are a lot of businesses that make a good amount of money from the area but have never contributed to anything in Skamania County,” he said. “I proposed that the school foundation work with those businesses to build partnerships leading to new educational programs and scholarships for our schools; these same companies partner with bigger districts’ foundations so I do not see why they would not be willing to partner with us as well.”

When asked what he thought about the district’s decision to reopen Wind River Middle School to accommodate social distancing and offer better learning opportunities to students, Waters was emphatic,” Three words – best decision ever.”

The Stevenson-Carson School District would like to acknowledge and thank the businesses and community members whose contributions made these internet cafes possible. “I am incredibly grateful for the communities of Stevenson and Carson and their ongoing support of their community schools,” said Superintendent Colvard. “By partnering together, we help to ensure our students have the opportunities they need to succeed under all circumstances.”