In DeKalb County, Alabama, an internet fiber upgrade gives every classroom an edge. Students and teachers will benefit from the $2.5 million upgrade which will hopefully be completed by the end of the year.
According to Superintendent Jason Barnett, upgrades include fiber connections for every single classroom, and wireless access and new hardware which takes advantage of heightened internet access and speed.
“We put together a package that will touch every school in our district,” Barnett said. “It allows our teachers to provide better lessons and get immediate feedback on lessons.”
Approximately $1.5 million of the funds for the upgrade came from federal E-Rate funds. The remainder came from federal and local sources. The E-Rate program enhances access to the internet for schools and libraries, and was originally authorized by Congress in 1997 to promote telecommunications access.
The upgrade “allows [students and teachers] to go from consuming information to producing information,” Barnett said.
DeKalb County is a rural school system of 14 schools serving 9,000 students across a 784 square mile county. In the past, some of the schools had lagged in technology, due to having the worst network in the district. Now, Geraldine Elementary principal Steven Street says that the network is the speediest in the district.
“It’s working extremely well; no glitches or anything,” Street said.
“With a lot of our state testing program going online, we felt more comfortable,” he said. Previously, the number of people using the network for testing had to be limited because of the inadequacy of the network.