CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Governor Matt Mead highlighted the Wyoming Classroom Connectivity Initiative, a coordinated effort to help improve school Wi-Fi access in the state at the state Broadband Summit yesterday. The Initiative is a joint effort between the Office of the Governor, the Wyoming Department of Education, the Department of Enterprise Technology Services, and EducationSuperHighway—a national non-profit focused on upgrading Internet access in K-12 schools across the country.
According to EducationSuperHighway's “2015 State of the States” report, Wyoming currently ranks first in the nation in classroom broadband connectivity with 100% of school districts meeting the Federal Communications Commission’s 100 kbps per student bandwidth goal for digital learning. Nationwide, 77% of school districts currently meet the minimum standard. The Initiative is focused on ensuring that schools are equipped with the Wi-Fi connections necessary to ensure online learning can reach students’ devices, a critical next step in bringing 21st Century learning to Wyoming.
“We are proud of the progress that we’ve made in bringing high-speed Internet to students and teachers across Wyoming,” Mead said. “Because of these efforts, Wyoming leads the nation in classroom broadband connectivity. All districts have access to our lightning fast statewide network. We must continue to build on this success, and the Wyoming Classroom Connectivity Initiative is focused on doing just that. Improving Wi-Fi connections in our schools will improve the digital learning experience for Wyoming students and ensure that they can access the educational tools they need from any device.”
Mead continued, “I want to thank the Wyoming Department of Education, the Department of Enterprise Technology Services, and EducationSuperHighway for their partnership in these efforts and their help in ensuring that we are providing a world-class education to Wyoming students.”
Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway which is volunteering its services free of charge to the state, praised Governor Mead for his leadership on the issue, noting, "Governor Mead's commitment to bringing high-speed Internet to every classroom in Wyoming is admirable. Through his leadership, Wyoming has led the way in upgrading school districts' infrastructure and connecting every classroom with broadband Internet. The Wyoming Classroom Connectivity Initiative will further ensure that Wyoming students get to learn in a cutting edge and modern educational environment no matter they are or what device they are on. It's the logical next step to take and we are honored to be a part of this effort."
Wi-Fi is a critical piece of the network puzzle that ensures connectivity reaches students’ learning devices. The Connectivity Initiative will allow the state take full advantage of available federal E-rate dollars for Wi-Fi. Initially the state worked to gain a better understanding of Wyoming school district Wi-Fi needs. The results of that investigation helped design a program to remove obstacles and ensure that every school receives targeted support.