(Submitted by Terry McAteer, Inyo County Superintendent of Schools)
Inyo: Last Place to First in Four Short Years
Within a blink of a few years, Inyo County has gone from being the backwater of technology for students and staff to being the most technologically advanced county in the state. Five major events have occurred that have changed the nature of public education in Inyo for decades to come.
- Digital 395—The most important step of this process from last to first was the finalization this summer of the Digital 395 connection. Bandwidth increased ten-fold for all of our schools. The ability to have all students and staff on the computer network at the same time is now possible thanks to our new, low-cost, fiber connection. Many thanks to the County of Inyo for their pursuit of funding for this high speed connection.
- Wireless Schools—Throughout the past two years all of our schools have become completely wireless. This step forward allows all students and staff the ability to have access to a filtered internet network throughout the school day. This major advancement fosters the introduction of computers throughout all classrooms. Kudos to our school tech staffs for making this a reality.
- Laptops for All Students—One year from now all students in all grades will have their own personal computing device for use at school and at home. Currently, all K-2 students have an Ipod touch device to improve reading and math skills. Third thru 8th graders have their own laptops to improve writing, research and typing skills. Next year, all high school students will receive a laptop which will make Inyo the technological leader in the state. Great appreciation to our superb teaching staffs along with Lo Lyness, Ilissa Twomey and Pamela Jones from ICSOS for making this tech infusion a reality into the daily lives of our youth.
- Updated Public Libraries—Parents, students and community members are also benefitting by this technological blossoming in our schools. Our public libraries, under the fine leadership of Librarian Nancy Masters, have also joined the Digital 395 network becoming wireless and obtaining new and more computer work-stations. Our libraries remain a wonderful asset in our community for learning and accessing research tools.
- Wi-Fi Downtowns— Within the next few months, through the leadership of the Chambers, Bishop and Lone Pine will have their entire downtown corridors become free wi-fi hubs for use by residents, students, and tourists. These free wi-fi corridors will provide access to free internet 24/7. It will also provide visitors a reason to stop and shop in these two communities.
Due to these five events, Inyo will be the first county in state to provide laptop computers for all K-12 students and staff. Inyo will be the first county in the state to have all schools wireless and connected to a high speed internet connection. Inyo will be the first county in the state to have two of its largest business corridors with free wi-fi for residents, students and tourists.
Most importantly, these five technological changes are transforming the lives of our youth. They are providing our youth with the tools, the access and the instruction needed to be productive citizens of the 21st Century.