CYPRESS — CFISD has expanded its iConnect initiative in the West Houston Mobile Home Community and Weiman Mobile Home Community in seeing CFISD students are given access to secured WiFi connections for devices provided by the district.
CFISD students in both the West Houston and Weiman communities may now check out Chromebooks from their school libraries to access the secured WiFi connection. This service is provided to students and their families by CFISD thanks to the Technology Lending Grant, a Title IV grant, and a partnership with Layer 3 Communications.
“The highly competitive grant application process for these funds was embedded with countless data highlighting the robust technology program CFISD has in place,” said Kathie Sanders, director of federal programs and grants. “In the application, we also presented ways we could make our resources more meaningful and impactful to students by offering the technology services a student receives at home parallel to what they have access to at school. We were delighted to receive this generous technology grant and have quickly implemented the services to these communities.”
Campus and district personnel were on hand to inform, treat and celebrate with students and their families at the iConnect Festival, held Oct. 22 at West Houston and Oct. 23 at Weiman. The initiative began in May with its launch at the Tanner Road Mobile Home Park, turning a vision between Dr. Mark Henry, CFISD superintendent of schools, and Dr. Linda Macias, CFISD associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction & accountability, into the project.
Working with Layer 3 Communications, CFISD constructed a tower in the neighborhood with access points that connect to the same networks and servers district students and personnel use every day at campuses and CFISD facilities. Students will be able to use their own devices to access the internet, while district-provided Chromebooks will also be available for use during the school year and over the summer break to help students continue accessing the rich resources available to them through the district. In addition, students can also access an array of books online.
School administrators and librarians from Hairgrove and Owens elementary schools, Labay Middle School and Cypress Falls High School – the campuses zoned to the mobile home communities – assisted patrons with internet and network directions and information.
“The iConnect project provides so many opportunities to our students,” said Labay Principal Lanette Bellamy. “They now have the ability to do research, connect to Google Classroom, utilize online books and complete technology-related homework assignments all from the comfort of home. These are opportunities that many students already have, but now our iConnect families are benefitting from the same convenience of technology. Our teachers love knowing that the students have equal access to the technology resources and the students and parents are so grateful and excited about having the technology at their fingertips.”
Added Cypress Falls Principal Becky Denton: “We were thrilled to be a part of this blessing. Our students and their families will benefit from the use of WiFi as doors have been opened.”
School partners ExploreLearning, Istation and Achieve3000, who offer programs used in the classroom, provided goodies for swag bags given to all students, while the Backyard Grill provided food. Achieve3000 also provided two Amazon Kindle e-readers, which were raffled off for students.
“Dr. Henry is a huge supporter of the iConnect Initiative. He strongly supports the district providing opportunities for student to access the internet from home,” Dr. Macias said. “We were both thrilled to see the great turnout of students and parents who are excited about this new learning opportunity. We are so thankful to all our district employees and community/business partners for helping to make this event possible for our students.”
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