A rural school district in eastern El Paso County on Wednesday became the fourth partner in a program that will give its students access to thousands of digital resources that should serve as a springboard to academic success, according to a news release from Pikes Peak Library District.

Pikes Peak Library District’s PowerPass program, launched in 2019, provides students with an electronic library card that allows access to e-books, homework assistance, live tutoring, SAT preparation and a host of other academic and educational resources. District 11 was the library system’s initial PowerPass partner, joining the program in 2019. Harrison School District 2 adopted PowerPass in January 2021, and Academy School District 20 followed suit in September. Calhan is the first rural district to join the program, officials said.

“Pikes Peak Library District is excited to add Calhan School District to PowerPass,” said Joanna Nelson Rendon, PPLD’s director of young adult services. “This is the first partnership with one of the more rural school districts beyond the city of Colorado Springs and is giving us [PPLD] the opportunity to expand PowerPass and serve even more students throughout El Paso County.”

“Our goal is to eventually partner with every school district in our service area,” added Elyse Jones, PPLD’s community partnership coordinator.

PowerPass is not a physical library card, but it allows access to nearly all the amenities of a standard membership, officials said. The virtual card can be especially valuable to students living in rural communities who might not be able to get to a library, Jones said.

“Parents might not always have the time, or the ability, to physically bring their student to one of our locations,” she said. “With PowerPass, they don’t have to.”

The only limitation is the number of physical items that can be checked out. A standard PPLD card holder can check out up to 100 items from any of the 15 PPLD locations or mobile library services; PowerPass holders can only take five at a time. But a PowerPass and a traditional card are not mutually exclusive.

“Being a PowerPass student doesn’t mean you can’t get a traditional library card as well,” Jones said.

Access is not limited to academic materials, the release stated. PowerPass members can also download songs, movies, games, comic books and more – all from the comfort of their homes.

Calhan’s superintendent, David Slothower, said PowerPass will serve as an invaluable addition to the district’s library resources.

“PowerPass will provide Calhan students with unprecedented access to information, literature, art and educational support, as well as an enhanced ability to explore and prepare for the future they envision for themselves,” Slothower said.

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