Most parents with students attending Stephenville ISD know the district has been doing some exciting things with technology, including its iChampion initiative where iPads were rolled out to students on every campus.

Now, they're taking it to the next level.

Equipping Stephenville ISD buses with wifi has been a topic of discussion at previous school board meetings and might now become reality.

The E-T sat down with SISD’s Executive Director of Finance & Operations Deborah Hummel to get the details.

“We’re hoping to have some people (or businesses) that would be interested in paying $2,500 a year and they’ll get an acknowledgement — it’s kind of like advertising but not actually an ad — that says they are an iChampion sponsor and will get their logo on the bus,” Hummel said. “We’re hoping we have at least five or six. We already have one that’s interested and we’ve already talked to the sign company. We’re excited about it.”

Hummel said the district is going to try and start with two extracurricular buses and three route buses.

“Certainly if we get more people who want to sponsor, or be a partner, then we’ll do more,” she said. “I would love to have all of the buses have WIFI access, but I think this is going to be a growth thing and not immediate.”

This will be beneficial for Henderson Junior High and Stephenville High School students who are allowed take their iPads home, so they can do homework on their way home or on extracurricular activities.

“And many of them have their own device, and as far as the studies in regards to discipline, they’ll be able to play on their phone or whatever — some of the kids at Gilbert actually have a phone — so they could play on that instead of argue with the person sitting next to them,” Hummel said with a laugh. “I’m looking for some improvement to discipline too, but that’s not really the key factor here — it’s giving the kids additional access to WIFI and especially the kids who represent us in extracurricular activities. For them to not have to wait until they get home at 10:30 p.m., I think that’s really important.”

Another thing SISD is working on is encouraging students to visit places that offer WIFI around town.

“We’re hoping to get a list of places that have wifi, especially gathering places — Beans & Franks, McDonald’s — and they will get a sticker (that states 'iChampion wifi offered here') that they can put in their window and the students can come in there and use their iPads too,” Hummel said. 

For those interested in becoming an SISD iChampion wifi partner, contact Hummel at deborah.hummel@sville.us or 254-968-7990.