WEST LIMESTONE, ALA. - The Limestone County school system opened a new school this fall. Sugar Creek Elementary was designed to feature all of the latest technological developments in education. But there was a problem, they couldn't get internet service. So the superintendent of the school system reached out to us for help. We not only took action but got the results they were looking for.
We know Superintendent Tom Sisk well enough to understand when he uses the phrase "children first," that's not just a slogan with him. That is his creed. So when he called saying they needed some help with a problem at Sugar Creek, we went to work.
Sugar Creek Elementary is a beautiful facility serving hundreds of students in the Northwest section of Limestone County. They have all of the bells and whistles except for one, the internet. And that's a problem.
“This is an unsafe situation,” according to Sisk. He continued, “When we can't call 9-1-1, that's a problem ladies and gentlemen. When we can't communicate with our parents, that's a problem. When we can't utilize our technology to teach, that's a problem. When we can't activate our Safe Defend boxes because we can't even install them because we don't have the cable where they need to be, that's a problem."
Sisk called the school's staff and faculty together to explain he had done everything he could to remedy the situation. But he said Charter Spectrum had simply stopped taking his calls.
“I have called and talked with every person that will return my call, or take my call,” Sisk said.
Classrooms with computers and smart boards going unused. The computers in the school office are used to hold handwritten notes. Even in the cafeteria, workers have to jot down by hand which student got what meal and that information has to be taken to another school to be entered into a computer there.
“I’m sick and tired of it. And I've asked Channel 19 to be an advocate for us,” Sisk explained to staff and teachers at the school.
And so we got on the phone and went straight to Charter's corporate offices.
(voice of charter rep)
“Well, okay, let me look into it."
Within hours, Sisk received an email from Charter saying service at the school would be connected the following Monday. Sure enough, on Monday morning, Charter technicians were there. I checked back a few days later and found the office secretary was using her computer, and smart boards were fired up in several of the classrooms. And the cafeteria is also online.
“We are certainly grateful to Channel 19 News for being on our side with this and putting a bug in the ears of people that needed to hear this."
The folks at Charter explained to us it was a complex project that required specialized equipment that had to be custom-built for the school. When we explained the totality of the situation, they rushed the equipment in and rearranged schedules to get the job completed. And we are grateful to them for doing that.
The kids were out for their fall break last week. This week, when they came back to class, computers working, smart boards working in their classrooms, and most important, that security system is online keeping everyone safe.