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the installation with tech support from the company. “It was probably one of the most responsive offsite tech support companies I’ve ever dealt with,” he said. He said another feature they found impressive about the Kajeet product was its comprehensive filtering sys- tem, which can be used concurrently with the district’s filter to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Te routers went on the buses that spend the most time on the road. So far, Lambert said that both drivers and students have responded very well. “One of the veteran bus drivers who drives a Wi-Fi bus, has noticed that incidents of misbehaviors have really decreased dramatically. If you have students that are engaged while they’re on a bus, they’re going to be a lot less likely to act out,” he said. Bringing the Wi-Fi to the buses made sense for the district because of its focus on “extended learning,” or making the best use of the time students have for learn- ing. Wi-Fi on the school bus ensured that students also had opportunities for learning on the ride to and from school. As some have said, the school bus can serve as an extension of the classroom.


“I don’t think many people have really thought about it this way, but buses are an extension of a school district,” Lambert said. “Tey are a mobile classroom, whether electronic or otherwise, and we’re now just mak- ing that more possible to be a fully integrated classroom.” “Clearly, when we give kids the ability to take home


a Chromebook, we have them learn at home. And now the same is true on your way home. Our kids are so busy, travel home and then jump in a car to little league practice. Now you can do homework on the 45-minute bus ride,” Mannix said. Mannix also reported that approximately half of the


district’s students are eligible for free and reduced lunch, and that ensuring that they can access the internetso that they have equal opportunities for success is crucial. “We really believe that it’s kind of a moral imperative


that we level that internet availability playing field for our kids, and this is one small way we can do that. How to close that gap in digital equality is a conversation we have often around here,” he said.


Te district is looking into securing the grant funds to add connectivity to six more buses. ●


March 17-22


EMBASSY SUITES Frisco, Texas (a suburb of Dallas)


2017


• Specialized Training • Networking • Compliance • Certification


Save the Date


www.tsdconference.com 54 School Transportation News • JUNE 2016 17TSD_STD_Frisco_SV.indd 1 5/17/16 9:54 AM


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