Dallas ISD this week will begin distributing the 10,000 mobile hotspots it purchased last month to help ensure students have Wi-Fi access while learning from home.
Staff worked over the weekend preparing the shipment of hotspots for distribution, placing decals, ensuring they broadcast a Wi-Fi signal, labeling them with students’ names and boxing them per campus. Hotspots will start being delivered to high schools on Monday and middle schools on Tuesday and Wednesday. Students without Wi-Fi access who are in need of a hotspot should reach out to their school principal to arrange for pickup.
Next week staff will start distributing hotspots to elementary schools for students in grades 3–5. The district has also ordered a large quantity of Chromebooks for elementary students to provide them to any students in grades 3–5 who haven’t yet received devices.
The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the purchase of the hotspots at the March board meeting. Survey responses from 18,000 Dallas ISD families showed that about 30 percent of district households don’t have Internet access.
Dallas ISD Chief Technology Officer Jack Kelanic said the mobile hotspots–which provide access to high-speed Internet–are a near-term solution to support students in successfully learning from home.
The devices enable students to access online instructional resources and the Internet in general, while also including security and content filtering to protect the students online.
“We have found that hotspots are an effective way to provide Internet access to our families,” Kelanic said. “It’s very important that all of our students have equal access to the best educational possibilities, even while we’re facing adversities.”
Meanwhile, the Dallas Education Foundation, the nonprofit philanthropic arm of Dallas ISD, is fundraising with the business community to purchase additional hotspots for families.
The hotspots will build on the district’s established Long-Range Technology Master Plan, which has already provided a tablet or laptop to every Dallas ISD secondary student.