One of the first stops on the U.S. Secretary of Education’s four-state back-to-school bus tour was a rural New Mexico school district lauded for its technology innovation.
The Socorro Consolidated School District in Socorro was described by federal officials as a “model to other rural school systems that seek to bring Internet-enabled educational technology to students, teachers and families.”
One of its innovations includes a partnership with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology that enabled a cell tower to be placed on top of a nearby mountain to provide wireless internet to some of its schools.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan did a town hall meeting with the rural school to discuss education in rural areas, the use of technology to enhance instruction, and the President’s ConnectED initiative, but no media covered the event. The lack of media can be attributed, perhaps in part, to the school’s rural location; it’s more than an hour south of Albuquerque. Media covered Duncan’s visit in Albuquerque, as well as at the tour’s kickoff in Santa Fe.
In a video about the visit, Duncan said the Socorro district was using technology in creative ways to increase students’ learning, but the country needs to do more through ConnectED to increase equity and give students more opportunities.
The school district has its technology plan for 2013-16 posted online, if you’re interested in more specifics. Socorro Consolidated enrolls about 1,750 students, and it pays for each school to have technology educational assistants who provide front-line technical support.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.