For Todd Dugan, superintendent of Bunker Hill CUSD #8, a small, remote district in southern Illinois, issues surrounding back-to-school COVID-19 style are not abstract but all too real.
Some of the district’s biggest priorities include:
- Rural struggles–and successes–as COVID hit
- Address learning loss that comes with inequity
- As school resumes, freedom of choice
In this conversation with eSchool News, Todd tries to keep the glass half full as he looks to take advantage of these incredible disruptions to education.
eSN: What was your first pandemic-panic moment?
TD: So, we were in the process of implementing a long-term one-to-one strategy when we suddenly had 48 hours to transform. And we did it. But 18 percent of our families do not have access to reliable broadband internet so that was a huge problem.
Being in a rural school district, we have a pretty low budget. Remember, because of COVID, they banned all those E-rate rules on gifts? We called our internet service provider down the road and said, “Listen, it’s a pandemic here. You gotta help us out.”
So they did. They cranked up the internet to one gig into this office until June 30th. We bought an Aruba outdoor access point, mounted it, and then took the passwords off. And then we sent out a massive text and said, “Hey, park in your car, please don’t congregate, and do your homework.” And we had success with that. You just get creative.