The Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology (OSIT) awards Nevada Connect Kids Grants to school districts to increase internet speeds and reliability in classroom. This funding moves the State closer to meeting the goal of Governor Sandoval’s Nevada Connect Kids Initiative that every K-12 school in the State is connected to the internet at speeds that meet the standard established by the Federal Communications Commission. Through the Nevada Connect Kids Initiative, OSIT provides funding and customized technical assistance to schools and districts with designing broadband networks, applying for federal broadband funding, and procuring services.
In September, 2017, OSIT funded three Nevada Connect Kids
grants in the amount of $188,231 to improve broadband connectivity in three
rural school districts. Funding from the grants will improve
connectivity speeds tenfold in eight rural schools that enroll a combined 1,891
The three school districts that will benefit from this grant are Lander, Lyon, and Pershing Counties. In each district, the increased speeds will provide the bandwidth to carry out the districts’ digital learning strategies, including beginning to provide internet connected devices to every student, providing access media-rich websites, and access to classes through distance learning only offered in larger districts.
Below is a summary of the results of each project.
School Districts Awarded
Lander County School District
Funded Grant Amount: $10,243.20
Student Impact: 1,025
The Lander County School District was awarded $10,243.20 for the one-time purchase and deployment of a Sonicwall and short haul fiber module multimode equipment. The deployment of this hardware security solution facilitated an increase in bandwidth to 1 Gbps, which is 10 times faster than the school’s previous connection. The schools benefiting from this equipment upgrade are: Battle Mountain High School; Eleanor Lemaire Junior High School; Battle Mountain Elementary School; and Lander County School District Administrative Offices. Together, these three schools serve 1,025 students. This new connection allowed the district to meet FCC and Nevada Ready 21 recommended minimum connectivity speeds and allowed teachers to expand and facilitate digital learning, allowing students to take online classes, stream video, and access media-rich websites.
Lyon County School District
Funded Grant Amount: $37,830
Student Impact: 221
The Lyon County School District was awarded $37,830 to support an upgrade of the Smith Valley School’s broadband connection to a fiber LAN with a connection speed of 1 Gbps, double the existing speed. The new connection is more reliable and will cost the district less than the previous connection. The 1 Gbps connection has a future proof element allowing it to be scaled up as the needs of the school and district change. The school district purchased a communications shelter which was converted to a fiber hut to house the equipment for the new fiber connection. A backup generator was also purchased to meet the needs of the communications shelter to provide power redundancy. Fiber was also purchased to connect the school and the communications shelter to the fiber backbone, The 221 students attending Smith Valley School now have access to advanced and enhanced digital and distance learning. The school district plans to create a virtual learning mechanism and this upgrade will allow the students to successfully participate with other schools in the district.
Pershing County School District
Funded Grant Amount: $140,158
Student Impact: 645
The Pershing County School District was awarded $140,158 for upgraded structured cabling and upgraded Wi-Fi access points in four schools with an enrollment of 645 students. The district was able to upgrade the fiber connections to the schools, leaving the connections in the schools in need of upgrades to take advantage of the available faster connectivity. The previous system used different brands, resulting in non-compatibility and the insufficient number of access points to the Wi-Fi, which disabled multiple classrooms from using the internet simultaneously. The school’s wireless system could not be upgraded due to the outdated structured cabling. The existing structured cabling in each building could only support up to 100 Mbps, creating a severe bottleneck in the current connectivity once the 1 Gbps WAN and IA upgrades were completed. In order to benefit learning throughout the district, a uniform wireless system with more access points throughout the schools needed to be deployed. The four schools benefiting from the upgrades are: Pershing County High School, Pershing County Middle School, Lovelock Elementary School, and Imlay Elementary School. The improved connections enabled 1st and 2nd grade teachers to use a new math curriculum, accommodating a significant amount of streamed media lessons. The improved connections also eliminated delays and disconnections from the Wi-Fi. Improved connectivity will allow more students to take mandatory state tests at the same time, leading to more time in the classroom while allowing teachers to continue using the internet to teach while students are taking tests. Finally, more wireless access points provided better connectivity to each classroom, preventing one access point from becoming saturated and slow.