NEW BEDFORD — As most of New Bedford's public schools get ready to open their doors to students on Sept. 1, the district's Technology Services Department is hard at work installing $3.8 million in new gadgets and other upgrades.

That figure includes $2 million to upgrade the entire school district's WiFi infrastructure, according to a New Beford Public Schools press release.

Chief Technology Officer for the district Robert Tetreault said the remaining $1.8 million investment has gone towards new student laptops, Chromebooks, touch screens, and other tech.

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According to Tetreault, more than 3,000 new Chromebooks are being distributed to every student at the city's three middle schools: Keith, Normandin, and Roosevelt.

"We leveraged the funding through the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a federal program," Tetreault said. "These Chromebooks represent an investment of $1,183,000."

The release also noted that the entire district-wide WiFi infrastructure is being upgraded to the tune of $2 million.

This includes the installation of more than 1,400 new wireless access points in every classroom in every school building — as well as replacing older equipment, according to Tetreault.

Other new gadgets include 800 new laptops for incoming freshmen at New Bedford High School, and 100 new laptops for Whaling City Junior/Senior High School students.

All together, the laptops cost $594,000, of which $360,000 came from federal grants.

Any leftover laptops will replace aging devices, according to the release.

Meanwhile the city's elementary schools are getting 2,000 new Chromebooks to replace aging devices, and some more classrooms are getting interactive touch screens, based on each school's need.

Some schools are also getting additional security and surveillance systems, and additional hot spots are being provided for home internet access for educational purposes.

Students in need of home hot spots for access should reach out to their school administrators, the release notes.

“We are committed to investing in the tools students need to thrive in modern educational settings,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “These mobile devices were essential during the pandemic, and they have become a permanent fixture of the student experience.”

"Students need the most effective tools available to increase achievement in all areas," New Bedford Schools Superintendent Thomas Anderson said.

"These latest upgrades continue our ongoing work to provide access in education for every student — all students get what they need to grow academically and to thrive socially and emotionally."


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