For the past year, students from Beebe School District have benefitted from Wi-Fi on their school buses. The district partnered with Premier Wireless Business Technology Solutions to provide students access to the internet on their commutes, turning the district’s 45 school buses into mobile classrooms using Premier’s ConnectED Bus Solution.
For student-athletes in Beebe, Arkansas, they spend as much as six hours commuting to and from games. After coming home late after a game, the students report staying up even later to complete homework, leaving them sleep-deprived and exhausted having to start the next school day early.
“I was thinking, what if we could do our homework on the bus on the way home so we wouldn’t have to stay up that late, not just for me but for other athletes, too,” said Beebe student-athlete Jordyn Lefford.
After researching school bus Wi-Fi online, Lefford and fellow Beebe student-athlete Ethan Waters contacted Premier Wireless to find out more about getting Wi-Fi on their school buses. Premier Wireless President and CEO, Lea Bogle, thought she was communicating with someone from the district’s leadership team, but she wasn’t.
“I was surprised when I joined the Zoom meeting and saw two teenagers and their bus driver, Joy Sykes. I’m used to meeting with district administrators and transportation directors about school bus Wi-Fi, but I had never heard directly from the students being impacted. Knowing that our ConnectED Bus solution could truly help these kids and this district was especially exciting. I wanted to make this happen for them. They deserved it,” said Bogle.
With support from the district, an application for funding was made and the request was granted. “We thought it was a great idea when they presented it to us. We want all our students to be successful, and we believe being connected is essential to be able to do that. We are proud of Jordan and Ethan’s efforts, and we are excited about our partnership with Premier Wireless to bring Wi-Fi to our buses,” said Scott Embrey, assistant superintendent of Beebe School District.
While Beebe students were able to leverage Emergency Connectivity Funds (ECF) because of the COVID-19 epidemic, a more sustainable and long-term source of funding has recently become available through E-Rate. E-Rate is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In late 2023, the FCC decided that E-Rate would include funding for Wi-Fi on school buses in addition to the funds already available for connectivity in schools and libraries.
Like Lefford and Waters, students want bus Wi-Fi. “We think it would benefit our district, and at some point, it would help our test scores go up because that’s more time [we] can be studying and getting ready for [our] exams,” said Waters.
In addition to having bus Wi-Fi going to and from sporting events, bus Wi-Fi allows all students to complete homework, research, study, and access resources during their daily commutes to school. Bus Wi-Fi helps close the digital divide by providing connectivity to students with limited or no internet access at home.
Internet connectivity on school buses also improves safety, providing a more controlled environment for students to engage in learning. Additionally, the district can access cameras in real-time in the event of an emergency. And finally, GPS enables the district to locate each bus while they are out on the road.
If your district is ready to help students complete their homework and study during their commutes, enable access for students with limited connectivity at home, and improve the safety of the drivers and students through GPS tracking and emergency camera access, it’s time to get bus Wi-Fi for your fleet.
The E-Rate filing window is open through February 28, 2024.
About ConnectED Bus Wi-Fi
Premier’s ConnectED Bus solution is the most cost-effective way to deliver off-campus internet access to all students, including those who are the most underserved in our nation. It provides extended learning time by providing students with internet access to complete homework, study, and do research while commuting to and from school, sporting events, and field trips. It decreases behavioral issues by providing students with something to do during their commute.
Simultaneously, it increases bus safety by providing real-time GPS and enabling real-time remote camera access to the bus’s cameras. Premier’s ConnectED Bus – Wi-Fi Connectivity solution is fundable through E-Rate.
About Premier Wireless Business Technology Solutions, Inc.
Premier Wireless Business Technology Solutions, Inc. has 30 years of experience working with school districts nationwide to improve safety and communication. Premier’s portfolio includes emergency preparedness equipment for backup, failover, and emergency communication; traditional classroom technology such as Chromebooks, laptops, and whiteboards; as well as solutions for law enforcement and healthcare.
Learn more about Premier Wireless’ Bus Wi-Fi solutions or other technologies to modernize your school bus fleet, contact us today at email@example.com. We’re here to help!