COVID-19 is changing how all segments of society function, and education is no different. The harsh light of the ongoing pandemic has illuminated the sharp differences that exist between families with access to high-speed internet and those that don’t.
In many cases, financial hardship means Nacogdoches ISD students cannot obtain the connectivity needed at home to complete remote learning lessons. Additionally, limitations in coverage by providers, particularly in rural areas of Nacogdoches County, leave students unable to access high-speed internet.
DragonConnected can provide a solution by linking Nacogdoches community partners with the school district to promote sites where students can access Wi-Fi to upload completed lessons and download new assignments.
NISD will provide DragonConnected logos to post on doors and windows of businesses and organizations to let students and their parents know it’s OK for them to connect to Wi-Fi. Oftentimes, the connection will need only be for a few minutes, enough time for the laptops or tablets to exchange information with district servers.
The district will promote these locations to parents and teachers on the NISD website, social media accounts and through email notifications.
NISD campuses will also serve as sites for internet connections, but the partnership within the community would greatly expand the coverage and opportunities for students to find locations to connect.
“I envision parents waiting in the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant, with the student in the backseat making contact with Wi-Fi,” said NISD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo. “In that short amount of time, the connection would allow lessons to be downloaded or completed work to be submitted.”
Trujillo envisions Nacogdoches-area churches playing a role. Some churches have built hearty networks to handle large Sunday crowds but are lightly used the remainder of the week when students would need to make contact to submit lessons.
“The lack of high speed internet in rural communities is a nationwide problem, but we don’t have time for the large-scale, national solution that’s needed and would likely take years to implement,” Trujillo said. “Our partners around the community can help us bridge the gap until more long-term solutions are available. We greatly appreciate everyone that’s willing to work with us.”
To participate or to find out more about DragonConnected, contact the NISD Communications office at 936-569-5000, ext. 8893. Or, email Les Linebarger or Erin Windham at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.