HCPS upgrades internet connection

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 16, 2006

AHOSKIE – Hertford County students should notice a great improvement with their on-line experience when they return from summer break.

Hertford County Public Schools has been awarded a portion of a $2,000,000 grant which will allow the school system to upgrade to a 100 megabyte internet connection.

“At present, we have a 3 megabyte connection to the internet,” Hertford County Superintendent Dennis Deloatch said. “Like many rural schools, the cost of broadband is extremely expensive and we are not able to pay for these expenses.

“This grant and partnership will allow us the opportunity to expand our internet connectivity to 100 megabytes,” Deloatch said. “In the past, in order for our students to complete state required on-line testing, we had to ask our teachers not to use the internet during these times.”

The increased bandwidth will greatly improve the speed and capability of the school system’s internet connection. The connection speed for the present system is slower than most dial-up connections.

The grant will cover the costs of the connection for a period of five years and is a partnership with the Golden Leaf Foundation, Sprint, UNC-Chapel Hill and the Eastern North Carolina Broadband Initiative. Hertford County Public Schools is one of eight school districts to receive a portion (over $220,000) of the grant.

The Eastern North Carolina Broadband Initiative is a public-private partnership focusing on the implementation of necessary infrastructure for broadband development across rural Eastern North Carolina.

Deloatch sought the grant two years ago after attending a meeting at East Carolina University to discuss the need to expand broadband connectivity in eastern, rural North Carolina.

“This new capability will allow students to take on-line testing without requiring staff and other students to shut down from the internet,” Deloatch said. “Teachers will have the opportunity to share homework and expectations on-line with their students and students will have the opportunity to take more classes on-line.”

“This will allow us to experiment with more web-based programs for students,” Hertford County Public Schools Technology Specialist Reginald Langford said.

“Students will have the opportunity to take distance learning classes and they will have access to various e-learning projects, including the Compass Learning Odyssey,” Technology Coordinator Paul Hollingsworth said.

Compass Learning Odyssey is an educational tool that delivers research-based curriculum to improve student achievement. This on-line curriculum helps students develop a foundation for key subjects and provides immediate feedback for students and teachers.

According to Deloatch, the 100 megabyte connection should be in place by July.

“This is a great opportunity for Hertford County Public Schools to provide our students with the same educational opportunities as others across the state,” Deloatch concluded.