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GOOGLE SPONSORS WI-FI ON SCHOOL BUSES Gamewell Middle Bus Riders Part of Rolling Study Hall

GOOGLE SPONSORS WI-FI ON SCHOOL BUSES Gamewell Middle Bus Riders Part of Rolling Study HallThe Education Foundation Inc. of Caldwell County and Google are the driving force behind a pilot program introduced at Gamewell Middle School to extend the school day to and from school on the yellow buses by providing Internet access, technology devices and teacher tutors.

The pilot, now referred to in the Caldwell County Schools as the "rolling study hall," is one of only a handful around the nation and possibly the first of its kind in North Carolina.

"We embrace this project that allows our students to have access to additional resources as they travel to school," said Superintendent Dr. Steve Stone. "The partnership with Google and the support from the Education Foundation brought this concept to a reality, and its benefits are real in every sense."

Nearly 100 devices have been deployed to bus riders for use during the "rolling study hall," where students complete homework, gather data, and utilize assigned instructional platforms. The grant also funds teacher tutors who provide technical support and instructional assistance on the bus during study time.

"For some kids in our community and communities across the country, the digital highway and all the knowledge and opportunity it holds comes to an abrupt end when the school bell rings, " said Caldwell County Google Site Hardware Operations Manager Enoch Moeller. "Google is proud to be part of a safe, well-supervised program that extends these students' Wi-Fi access to the world."

Approximately 67 percent of the Gamewell Middle School population is assigned to one of the nine standard yellow buses. More than 400 miles are logged on the Gamewell Middle School buses each day, and throughout the district, the average bus route is 1.5 hours in the morning and in the afternoon.

Pat Triplett, Executive Director of the Education Foundation Inc. of Caldwell County, said that excitement and success are words coming from students and staff since the inception of the rolling study hall. "Students have already begun to gain skills and knowledge beyond the classroom while using new available technology."

After a set-up stage for six weeks, each school bus has been fully equipped with cameras, Wi-Fi and electronic devices. The camera system is monitored by Gamewell staff through a live feed to the school. This has been an added benefit for the school's administration.

"Discipline on the school bus has improved significantly," said Monica Martin, Gamewell Middle Assistant Principal. "With more time on task coupled with the monitoring feature of the cameras, we've had fewer discipline problems from students. It has become an extra security measure for the drivers as well. They can now focus more on the road and less on discipline."