Students at Greenwood and Island City elementary schools will be learning more material faster in the near future, as fiber optic technology goes online. The Oregon Department of Education deserves a big thank you for making it possible.
The department recently awarded the schools a $39,500 grant to replace T1 lines that run to the
La Grande School District server with state-of-the-art fiber optics. By April, the new technology will be online.
Fiber optic lines, as many of us know, are far more efficient than phone cables at carrying information. They transmit light beams that can be encoded and decoded by
The bottom line here is that kids at Greenwood and Island City will have instant access to math and reading programs that formerly were difficult or impossible to use. A host of new and improved applications will be available to teachers, too.
Web-based learning is a part of life now. Students with access to the latest technology have the advantage over those using near-obsolete equipment. Schools in rural areas are always the last to catch up.
The grant, from the department’s Last Mile Connectivity program, levels the field for these local students.
Last Mile Connectivity grants are meant to help rural schools upgrade Internet access. Greenwood and Island City applied for one last year but didn’t make the cut. Local educators persisted, and they too deserve a pat on the back.
Tim Welch, the La Grande School District’s information technology director, with help from officials at both schools and also from the Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District, all combined forces to win the grant.
Those people well understood the need, didn’t give up and scored a big victory the second time around. Accelerated web access is important for everybody, but in school, it’s vital.
Students in rural areas need it every bit as as much as those in big cities. Finally, Greenwood and Island City Elementary have joined the 21st century.