Each school day, Sarah Kraft takes a bus from San Benito to the Science Academy of South Texas in Mercedes. The bus ride sweeps through Cameron County into Willacy County covering more than 30 miles, and for students like her depending on where they live, can easily spend more than four hours on a school bus every day. But since early May, the South Texas Independent School District students aboard the four longest bus routes enjoy a distraction, or a study aid. "I think we will all be doing probably online homework, said Sarah Kraft.
We receive a lot compared to the average student.
The 16 year-old junior says getting a web connection on the bus is really cool. Kristy Richards, a 16 year-old student at the South Texas High School for Health Professions campus doesn't mind the lengthy bus ride anymore, now that she can get work done during the commute. A lot better and a lot less stressful, said Richards.
It will be one less thing of our list we will have to get done.
To pull this off, the district installed a wireless router just above the driver's seat and another just above the front windshield.
The little black box creates an instant internet hotspot.
Jeff Hembree, the Deputy Superintendent for South Texas ISD says Wi-Fi access will transform a bus ride into a rolling study hall, a necessity for his students since most of their work is online.
We are out testing and allowing students to try their different devices and make sure that they actually function in different locations across the Valley, said Hembree.
The Wi-Fi will be filtered to prevent kids from accessing adult content just as it would on campus.
Administrators say they don't mind a little distraction as long as it's clean and productive.
For now STISD is working with different companies testing which provides the better wireless coverage to the three county school district, at no cost to the school Once the they have that information, the district will get price quotes to equip their entire fleet.