South Carolina

These SC students got WiFi on the bus. It went so well, Google's expanding the program

After seeing resounding success in a pilot program that provided North and South Carolina students much needed access to WiFi and technology, Google announced Monday it's expanding its Rolling Study Hall initiative to 16 other communities.

Students from Lenoir, North Carolina and Berkeley County, South Carolina, were the first to benefit from the program, which will soon expand to serve more than 4,000 students, Google spokeswoman Charlotte Smith said.

In 2016, Google worked with the school systems in Lenoir and Berkeley County to install WiFi in buses, offering children who don't always have access to the internet an easy way to get connected, Smith said.

Google also gave school systems a stipend to help pay for an employee to help students with online work. Smith added.

Within a year, schools reported to the company that students had higher standardized test scores, higher reading and math literacy, and that they tended to be more productive out of school. Homework completion went up and disciplinary incidents went down, according to a statement from Lilyn Hester, Google's Head of External Affairs for the Southeast Region.

Google hopes to duplicate the results they saw in the Carolinas when they expand to 12 states, Smith said. Though Google would not release the names of the school districts that would be receiving the new equipment, Smith said the goal is to have all the buses running by the upcoming school year.

Some new participants will even receive Chromebooks to go with the new WiFi enabled buses, Smith said.

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