BorderLink – Solving the Homework Gap
Brawley – Often the best rose is found amongst the toughest thorns, and such is the case with Brawley Union High School’s Alyssa Bravo. The petite senior who’s maintained a 4.2 GPA is waiting to hear from California’s top universities and is hoping to attend UC Davis as a Biology major.
The path to Alyssa’s success hasn’t been easy. In fact, the path has been filled with many obstacles that while not easy, have birthed a resiliency that is admirable. A series of family events led Alyssa and her older brother to move to Brawley with her paternal grandparents early in her freshman year of high school. Without knowing a single person and somewhat behind in school, Alyssa began to work hard and blossom.
“I’m grateful that I moved to Brawley; this school, these teachers, and counselors – it feels like a family [and] I feel supported” said the 12th grader.
One of the biggest hurdles for Alyssa and hundreds, if not thousands of Imperial County students, is that her family can’t afford the most basic of internet connections. Something that many of us in 2018 take for granted, is simply not accessible for students like Alyssa.
Today, more and more schools require students to complete projects and research online and most homework assignments require internet connectivity to complete. For Alyssa that meant walking several blocks to the Brawley Public Library each day after school to complete as much homework as possible before the library closed.
Recognizing the need to bridge the Homework Gap and allow students to reach their full academic potential, the Imperial County Office of Education has launched an infrastructure initiative that will help ensure equal access to internet services throughout our county.
To get started, ICOE has teamed up with local school districts to bring wireless internet connectivity to students in five of our local communities: Brawley, El Centro, Heber, Seeley and Westmorland.
The successes and lessons learned from this initial “pilot” will drive the countywide build-out of a private wireless network that will blanket our communities and serve our more than 35,000 students countywide.
The BorderLink pilot relies on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, the same wireless technology that connects mobile phones and devices from all the major carriers. LTE enables connectivity to mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. It allows our smartphones to be connected to the internet anytime, anywhere, at high speeds and with the same protections and policies that schools maintain for students at school. It can also connect smart meters, vehicles, traffic signaling, video surveillance, and many other devices that will change how our municipal and county government envisions its services in the community.
BorderLink will deploy a private education wireless network infrastructure that complements the existing fiber-optic infrastructure throughout Imperial County that connects our schools and public agencies to each other and the internet.
Students, teachers, and others will be provided devices to ensure this high-speed connectivity is with them as they leave school grounds. Whether at home or elsewhere in the community, students will no longer worry about having the access they need to further their education, engage with other students or teachers, or access their digital curriculum or other resources.
“Students who have overcome obstacles in life and continue to do so and do well in school are the ones who stand out and maybe now more students like that can shine,” said Bravo.
BorderLink is Imperial County Office of Education’s response to the increasing needs of our schools and students as we work to prepare our students for college and the workforce. We expect to close the Homework Gap and much more, as we focus on improving the quality of life in our community and make Imperial County an ideal place to live, learn, and work.
Link for photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/318wPI9ayFg8qVFG2