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Wanted: A Bandwidth Upgrade

South Wasco County School District is a small, rural district encompassing all 600,000 acres of southern Wasco County in Maupin, Oregon. The district is comprised of two schools that pull from many neighboring small communities, totaling around 200 students in all. Despite its small size, the district is implementing major digital learning initiatives.

The Challenge

SWCSD provides a tablet for every student in grades 3-8 and has interactive whiteboards in all 1st-12th grade classrooms. Before equipping classes with devices, the district gave all teachers training on how to best integrate technology into their practice. However, they needed more than good training– they required access to a reliable, stable network that would support this new technology.

Historically, both schools in this district had little available bandwidth. They connected to each other through a variety of techniques, which didn’t accommodate their existing or future needs.

The Solution

Thanks to the Columbia Gorge Education District (which provides all of their technology services) and E-rate, SWCSD has been able to upgrade existing connections and expand its range of services. When first applying for E-rate, it received $27,000 in Priority 1 funding at the 80-85% discount level.

According to Superintendent Gary Peterson, that money has meant a great deal. “Prior to 2011, these schools had a maximum bandwidth of 5 megabits per second. Thanks to E-rate, we have been able to upgrade these connections to nearly 100 megabits per second.” This upgrade allows schools to support current devices and allow for future growth. Teachers are able to plan lessons with increased technology integration and use upgraded devices that rely on the high speed network.

Additional Resources

From South Wasco County School District:

From the U.S. Department of Education:

District Point of Contact

Phone: 541-395-2645