Rural school districts connect students to internet

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Alice ISD has provided 1,200 Chromebooks to students and added Wi-Fi to buses so children can access the internet no matter how far they are from school.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As school districts across Texas transitioned to remote learning during the pandemic, the Alice Independent School District found a way to keep students connected to the internet in the most rural areas. They even equipped 10 school buses with Wi-Fi.

“With COVID, it kind of shifted our school into the realm of remote learning, and so we moved a lot of our school work into Google Classroom,” said Yolanda Abrigo, Technology Coordinator Alice ISD. “They still have the option to take their device and access the internet on the school bus, too, to help bridge that homework gap.”

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It comes as the Texas Comptroller reports that 70% of students in grades 6 through 12 need internet access to do their homework, and 64% without access cannot complete their homework. Funding from the Texas Education Agency allows Alice ISD to help solve this problem.

“These kids were born with the technology in their hands. So adding it in, I just saw the light in their face, you know, giving them that opportunity where some can’t have the device to take home “, Abrigo said.

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Alice ISD uses the funding to provide each student with a device for the classroom. They’ve added 1,200 Chromebooks for students, smartboards for classrooms, and Wi-Fi on buses so kids can access the internet no matter how far away they are from school.

Abrigo told 3NEWS they are always looking to add more. “We will always be adding new things, technology is changing every day. It won’t be ending anytime soon, so take advantage of everything the TEA has for us.”

To further assess students’ Internet needs, Alice ISD surveyed students and their families. They found that 600 to 800 Wi-Fi access points were needed and they were able to distribute them with the funds available.

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Now even those living in the most rural areas can access their homework and stay connected to school.

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