Fresno USD Serves up WiFi Enabled Buses

Spotlight
wife on buses
Technology move to bring equity and support students who have longer rides
By: 
Jedidiah Chernabaeff

Fresno Unified students who take the bus to and from school and for school activities now have access to free Wi-Fi starting this school year.

"Fresno Unified students ride our school buses more than 5 million times during the course of a school year and we want to make sure they are able to study and stay on top of their school work and on track to graduate," said Superintendent Michael Hanson. "The bus ride home will never be the same for our students. They can consider a Fresno Unified bus ride a mobile study hall."

Students can access the free Wi-Fi by using the username "FUSD_BUS" and entering the passcode "iamready" on their mobile devices, lap tops, or tablets. All web traffic on the school buses is content filtered to ensure students have an educational and safe web experience that aligns with student expectations around digital citizenship. "Bandwidth usage from district buses went from 9GB on the first day of school to 63GB after the first few days," stated Kurt Madden, Chief Technology Officer of Fresno Unified. "Students love it – it’s a game changer for thousands of students who take the bus every day."

Fresno Unified's Transportation Department travels more than 1.5 million miles each school year and transports more than 5 million riders to and from school. The ridership total does not include the number of students who receive rides for arts, athletics, or activities. More than 60 percent of the district's 74,000 students participate in arts, athletics, or activities. Wi-Fi has been installed on all 99 of the district-owned buses.

Fresno Unified is one of only a few school districts in the state providing internet access on school buses.

Last year Coachella Valley USD in the Inland Empire of California rolled out their WiFi on buses initiative to support their students who live across a rural district the size of Rhode Island. "The impetus behind an initiative like this should be the basic fact that, in order to be successful in school today, students need connectivity — be it on a moving bus, while at school or when they’re at home," stated Coachella Superintendent Darryl Adams. “You want your students to be able to study, learn, collaborate and communicate effectively outside of school. The WiFi-enabled school buses are just one more way to ensure that actually happens.”

 

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