Russell High School has 271 students in grades 9-12. The school is located “smack in the middle of Kansas” in buffalo and prairie dog country. Being in a rural area, there are few broadband providers to choose from, and commercial rates are cost-prohibitive. Principal Larry Bernard understood the abundance of opportunities he could offer teachers and students if he could find affordable mobile connectivity.
Through Mobile Beacon’s Connect for Success grant, the school secured 10 USB modems and laptops. These were initially used by teachers and staff for off-premise connectivity. On field trips, the equipment is used to publish photos to the high school website and communicate with other staff, students, or parents in real-time. Mr. Bernard also decided to use the 4G service to publish live video streaming of the school’s sporting events and stage productions, as well as offer scheduled online classroom presentations and instruction.
Principal Larry Bernard said Mobile Beacon’s grant put Russell High “on the leading edge” for high schools in their region. By publishing school events live, the program increased community engagement for the school as well. It enabled friends and relatives who lived in other regions, or who would not be able to attend events due to work-commitments to participate in real time and have a real presence.
Russell High School’s success with this program has attracted interest from other local schools. Already teachers at the elementary and middle schools have been acquainted with the products and expressed interest in using them in a similar capacity. Principal Bernard says they intend to “spread the wealth” with teachers at the other schools. “It just helps everyone stay in touch.”