$2.5 million system-wide internet upgrade in DeKalb Co. Schools allows for more ways to learn

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. -- The entire DeKalb County Schools system is in the middle of a $2.5 million internet upgrade. School leaders say it's already allowing for more ways to learn in the classroom.

Students at Geraldine School are learning in more ways than one: with technology and with pen and paper. It's easier than in the past, due to a system-wide internet upgrade. "We were the first school in the system to get the upgrade and it has been a tremendous advantage for our students and teachers," said Principal Steven Street.

Before the upgrade, the school had a lot of issues with the internet. Now that's a thing of the past. "Everybody has access," Street said. "The big problem we have now is that we need to get more technology in here, but that's a good problem to have."

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Jason Barnett said the network is going to be faster, able to handle more devices, and will be more secure. "We're going to be able to monitor it more efficiently and effectively to make sure that everything is appropriate and secure. It's going to be really positive for our area," Barnett said.

School leaders say the new network will allow them to add devices in the classroom and increase the instruction that teachers deliver through technology. It's also a gateway for a goal within the system to reach a one-to-one technology initiative. "It doesn't take away from the textbook, it doesn't take away from the teacher. It really supplements and enriches, and that's what we want to do," Barnett said, "We want to make sure that whatever technology we put in our classroom only enriches and supports the education we provide our students. It is not to replace."

School leaders say the internet upgrade should be done by the new year system-wide. The school system used federal funding and local dollars for the project.