McAlester Public Schools Partners With City, PSO To Expand Internet Access

Tuesday, August 4th 2020, 6:26 pm
By: Austin Hernandez


McAlester Public Schools, PSO and the city have teamed up to set up WiFi hot spots for their students. 

McAlester Public Schools said in a recent survey they found 20% of their students don't have access to the internet. As the upcoming semester moves to distance learning, school leaders said they knew something had to be done.

Assistant Superintendent Don Wise said they're working day in and day out to get WiFi hot spots set up so their students are set for the upcoming semester. Wise said school leaders got together after spring break to plan.

"Initially we looked at where the population of students were and we had to sort of make a determination which neighborhoods had the most students and where could we put these hot spots so that it was most effective," said Wise.

Chad Gragg is in charge of the project's budget and said the district has a few different ways to tackle the issue.

"We were able to use our own internet connections and construct our own cellphone towers using Skyrider and so we opted to do that first," said Gragg.

McAlester Schools also plans to install WiFi hot spots on 5 of their buses.

"If we find an area that the students are congregating, or the students need access that we don't have a WiFi tower for, then we can pull a bus to that area," said Gragg.

Wise said it's a challenging task, but having a team who is all on the same page makes getting over the obstacles a lot easier.

"With the coordination through the city, Skyrider, the company that's putting together all the hot spots for us and the local power company, we were able to come up with some solutions that were going to work," said Gragg.

McAlester Public Schools said the plan is to have this project finished next month.