The Kodiak Island Borough School District is invested in the educations of the children in our rural villages. Over the years, their innovation and persistence for excellence has allowed the school district to integrate a video conferencing system that allows students to interface with teachers remotely. The system is provided by GCI through a program called GCI School Access. The data is transmitted from a satellite to an Earth station in the community and then linked to the school’s network. The school’s innovative attitude has had a dramatic impact and has improved the services that they can offer to our rural students. This approach to technology has helped with the school’s success and when they heard the village is working to bring fiber optic cable to the schools and libraries in the community, they not only support the project but they invested in the effort.
The Port Lions School is down from sixty students to five and the School district will not be able to keep the school open next year. This is a problem for both the students and parents. Except for the school, the only other source of access to the Internet is at the Jesse Wakefield Memorial Library and at the Native Village of Port Lions Media Center. Unfortunately, the access to these connections are dramatically slower than what is available for the school.
To address the needs of the students and parents in Port Lions the school is interested in joining the consortium of organizations that are working to bring fiber optic cable into Port Lions by utilizing E-rate funding. The overwhelming improvement of speed and quality of connection by using fiber cable to connect the school to broadband would be very beneficial for the rural school. The School District not only sees how broadband could benefit the students they believe that connectivity is centralized tenant of the rural learning programs that have been so successful here in Kodiak.