Woodman School

LOLO – iPads, Kindles and laptops are great tools for classroom learning….but not if you can’t get online to use them.

Governor Steve Bullock paid a visit to Woodman School outside of Lolo on Wednesday to celebrate a $2 million funding bill that will bring powerful broadband to Montana’s classrooms.

“Providing our students with access to high-quality digital learning helps set them up for success in our increasingly digital world,” said Governor Bullock in a statement Wednesday. “As a predominantly rural state, we need to work even harder to make sure that our students have the high-speed Internet that they need to flourish. This investment is the result of collaboration between state government, the service provider and school communities, and will bring us even closer to closing the connectivity gap in our state’s schools.”

Connectivity issues plague many of Montana’s rural schools and communities where teachers trying to use the internet for lessons or classroom projects are often frustrated when they can’t get online.

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The money provided in House Bill 390 is a big piece of the puzzle to help schools pay for broadband infrastructure and take away a big challenge facing classrooms.

“There were times when I would plan what I thought was a fantastic project to enhance and enrich learning, and we would try to get eight kids on line and we’d maybe get one or two,” Woodman School Teacher Charis Jacobson said. “So a project that would take one or two days could stretch on to weeks. That would cause frustration with the students and with teachers.”

HB 390 is a continuation of the Montana School Broadband Project which was jointly launched in 2015. The goal is to upgrade Internet access in every public school classroom in America.

MTN’s Jill Valley