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Education

Fort Worth ISD Installs Internet Towers, And Invites Every Student To Summer School

Fort Worth Superintendent Kent Scribner at lectern talking to reporters.
Bill Zeeble
/
KERA News
Superintendent Kent Scribner says the entire district will have internet service by 2022. In the meantime, he says the 25% of the district with poor service will have it by August.

The district is putting up internet towers to provide more students with WiFi access. It also wants every student to take full-day summer classes to combat learning loss.

Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner said in late May that every family in the district will have access to WiFi by the beginning of the new year. But he said even sooner than that, some of the least connected homes in the district should have it. What’s more, he wants every FWISD student to take summer classes.

Scribner said thanks to local and federal dollars, the district is building towers that will provide internet connectivity to 25% of the district’s homes. Last week, the first phase of the project began. Three temporary internet towers have been installed at Dunbar High School, Morningside Middle School and Rosemont Middle School.

“This opportunity will allow us to construct four towers,” Scribner said. “They will be up and running and functioning by the first day of school. Here in Morningside, 90% of our families are economically disadvantaged.”

Clint Bond, a spokesperson for the district, said the need for Wifi became more apparent after the pandemic hit.

“We learned during the pandemic that not only did we need the hardware to go along, but we needed software as well, we need that interconnectivity. We found that there were zip codes in our school district that had no internet service at all,” Bond said.

Scribner said strong, reliable WiFi can be the great equalizer. Phase two of the project will involve installing towers that provide internet to 75% of the district.

He also announced summer school this year will be open to every student, not just those who must attend.

“Historically, summer school has had a stigma — students who failed a class or fallen behind,” Scribner explained. “Not this year. We’re inviting all students, irrespective of their academic level, from kindergarten through 12th grade. And we’re not focused on remediation. We’re focused on acceleration.”

Scribner said too many students have fallen behind, although he couldn’t be more specific with numbers. He said Hurricane Katrina taught educators that one year of trauma could throw kids off by three or four years, and that his students don’t have three or four years to catch up.

So, summer school begins June 23 and runs for a month. Classes will be a full day, not a half day. He added that teachers will concentrate on literacy and math, but other subjects will be taught too, including science and technology.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at bzeeble@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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