McIntosh County outfits old school bus with Wi-Fi, PCs to help rural kids with homework

Some students in rural counties might not have internet access, so McIntosh County is bringing internet to them. (Source: WTOC)
Some students in rural counties might not have internet access, so McIntosh County is bringing internet to them. (Source: WTOC)

DARIEN, GA (WTOC) — The way students learn new material is constantly changing, and one school district has demonstrated its willingness to embrace that change.

In order to make sure none of its students fall behind because they do not have access to certain technology, McIntosh County Schools outfitted an old school bus with Wi-Fi and computers, and it will soon send the bus around the community in order to help kids complete their homework.

Dr. John Barge, Superintendent of McIntosh County Schools, says the Homework Bus is a solution to address the homework gap in their school system.

"We never want the lack of access to technology or the internet to hamper student learning. If we can close the gap between those who have access to the internet and those who don't, we can remove one of the barriers that prevents all students from having equal opportunity to maximize their learning," he said.

The concept for the homework bus came to Barge when he served as the state superintendent and heard that another district in rural Southwest Georgia had done something similar.

"We had an older bus we had removed from the fleet, but rather than sell, we used federal grant money to refurbish the bus with a new engine, transmission, heating and air, a generator, and the technology," he said. "We will continue to use federal money we receive as a Title I district to maintain the bus."

Barge emphasizes that, as of right now, there has not been an official ribbon cutting; and the bus has not begun its routes, so there's a high possibility that most of the community is unaware of the bus's existence.

"The initial stops have been identified. There will be four locations in the county where the bus will park one day a week from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and parents can bring their children for assistance," he said. There are plans in the works for an "official rolling out", and other activities that would familiarize students, parents and community members to see its benefits in action.

Currently, the bus offers 20 computer networked stations, which are outfitted with wireless internet and a printer. There are numerous software programs on the computers, says Barge, that the schools have asked be made available to aid with enrichment and/or remediation.

The bus does not have a current debut date, but the ribbon cutting is set for the near future. For more information, contact Mr. Merwan Massa in McIntosh County Schools central office at (912) 437-6645. The bus's schedule remains under review and will be released to the district once finalized.

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