Florence School District Two receives grant for home, bus wi-fi access

Florence School District Two officials want to let kids do online work on the bus and at home.

PAMPLICO, SC (WBTW) – One rural Pee Dee school district is working to expand technology from the classroom to students’ homes.

Last year, Florence School District Two made strides in bringing technology into the classroom by making sure each student had access to a computer during school hours. Now they’re making sure students have that same access to education at home as well.

“They have the devices, they just don’t have the connectivity,” said district Superintendent Neal Vincent. He said now that students have computer access at school, it is important to have it at home as well.

The S.C. General Assembly made funding available for the state’s Mobil Device Access and Management Initiative.

“I followed that proviso all the way through the General Assembly,” Vincent explained. “As soon as we had an opportunity to apply, we applied.”

The result–a $115,000 grant to afford mobile hotspots that students can take home each day. The goal was to get high-speed internet access for students who may not have it at home.

“Before this opportunity, many teachers designed homework with all students in mind, regardless if you have a device,” said Vincent.

Vincent said a recent survey found as many as 25 percent of students in the district don’t have internet access at home. Now, the interactive learning that technology has brought to Florence Two classrooms can continue after school.

“Teachers can use a ‘flip classroom’ method and basically do the instruction and show enough examples on a smart-panel or a board, record it, and students can watch it as many times as needed at home,” Vincent explained.

Vincent said it’s not just the classroom and the home where students can be getting work done. $40,000 of the $115,000 grant will be used to equip each of the district’s 12 state school buses with a wi-fi access point, something Vincent said is especially important in a rural area like Pamplico.

“Some students have an average of two hours a day to complete their homework, either on the way to school school or on the way home,” Vincent said. “So once they get home, they can have the opportunity to work, or do activities with their family and their homework will be complete.”

Parents must sign off on access and will be notified soon about the plan. Vincent said after the parents are notified, the hotspots and buses could be ready to go in as little as one month.