The Marble Falls Independent School District is helping students connect while learning from home with Wi-Fi-enabled school buses.
“We’re strategically placing school buses, at least (six) to start with, in areas where we know our families and students might not have internet at home,” MFISD Superintendent Chris Allen said. “We are going to start with five, but we can scale that up if we need to.”
The district will deploy the buses beginning Monday, March 30. They will be parked at chosen sites Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students and/or parents need only drive or walk up to one of the buses to connect to the internet. The buses will be locked.
Bus locations are:
- Crockett Park at Sherwood Forest Drive and East Granite Castle Drive in Granite Shoals
- El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant parking lot, 6924 RR 1431 in Granite Shoals
- Valley View Park, 1512 Kingston Drive in Granite Shoals
- Cottonwood Shores Community Park, 4111 Cottonwood Drive in Cottonwood Shores
- The Church at Horseshoe Bay, 600 Hi Ridge Road in Horseshoe Bay
- Spicewood Beach POA, 207 Golf Course Drive in Spicewood
“We also have internet access available outside all our campuses,” Allen said. “The reason we chose the locations for the buses was we know those were some places students and families might not be able to get to the campuses as easily.”
MFISD campus locations are:
- Marble Falls High School, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls; access point on athletics side of student parking lot
- Marble Falls Middle School, 1511 Pony Circle Drive in Marble Falls; access point on gym side parking lot near technology building
- Colt Elementary School, 2200 Manzano Mile in Marble Falls; access point at front of building in visitor side parking lot
- Highland Lakes Elementary School, 8200 RR 1431 West in Granite Shoals; access point in front of building in visitor parking lot
- Marble Falls Elementary School, 901 Avenue U in Marble Falls; access point in front of building in visitor parking lot
- Spicewood Elementary School, 1005 Spur 191 in Spicewood; access point in front of building in visitor parking lot
The student’s school-issued device should connect automatically.
Other locations with free Wi-Fi access include:
- Fellowship Baptist Church parking lot, 2702 Mormon Mill Road in Marble Falls
- Judge Gil Jones’ office, 1307 Second St., Suite D, in Marble Falls. Park in front and log on to network Mediation Guest with password SETTLE_NOW_22
- Kynda Coffee, 4315 FM 2147 in Cottonwood Shores (near Julie’s Cocina)
- Lake Shores Church parking lot, 700 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls (password: psalms1506)
- LifeMarble Falls parking lot, 1901 Mormon Mill Road in Marble Falls
- Spicewood Community Library parking lot, 1011 Spur 191 in Marble Falls (school-issued devices should connect automatically)
Northland Communications has several Wi-Fi access points, including:
- Northland Communications office, 2100B U.S. 281 in Marble Falls
- Historic Main Street, 301 Main St. in Marble Falls
- Johnson Park, 230 Avenue J in Marble Falls
- Lakeside Pavilion, 307 Buena Vista Drive in Marble Falls
Many spots should allow open or guest access with no password required.
MFISD classes are suspended through at least Friday, April 3, per Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order, but the district is implementing plans to continue students’ education.
Allen said remote learning isn’t the ideal educational method, but the district is in a strong position to offer it and ensure students are receiving good instruction.
A challenge for some school districts is computer and internet access for students, but MFISD is in a good position, the superintendent pointed out, because the district is “one-to-one” in regard to each student having an electronic device such as a Chromebook or iPad.
“We’ve been a one-to-one district since about 2015,” Allen said. “This goes to the great leadership of the Board (of Trustees). They also allowed us to buy Wi-Fi-equipped buses in 2015 and put in access points at all the campuses.”
Parents with questions regarding MFISD Wi-Fi spots or other technology-related issues may contact the district’s Technology Office at 830-798-3631.
If your business or office is offering free Wi-Fi access, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list in this story.
For more on how COVID-19 is affecting the Highland Lakes, visit the DailyTrib.com coronavirus resources webpage.