• District wins $500,000 tech grant for elementary school upgrades

    The Haverhill Public School Department will receive $500,000 from the state  to improve technology infrastructure and to buy six iPad carts, one for each elementary school.

    State Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, chairman of the House and Ways Committee, said the grant will “help modernize our entire school system and ensure that our students have access to the technology that is so critical to their education.”

    School Department Technology Director Tim DiFalco said the money will be used to upgrade the district’s elementary schools to offer wifi service and improve the delivery of data over upgraded cables. The bulk of the work will be performed this summer.

    The money is expected to arrive in fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1, 2015.

    “Representative Dempsey’s help in getting this funding for the children of Haverhill once again stimulates student interest and teachers’ faith in the government’s efforts to provide children with opportunities in the city of Haverhill,” said Superintendent James F. Scully. “This grant equalizes the playing field between our urban schools and our suburban neighbors.”

    According to the grant application, DiFalco plans to use the first $75,000 payment at the Tilton Elementary School. Built in 1890, Tilton School on Grove Street has virtually no wifi coverage and insufficient cabling.

    “The wifi initiative will positively compliment the district’s effort to improve the infrastructure of the building and its academic achievement,” DiFalco said in the grant application.

    By the time the project is finished, the grant will have paid for wireless access and other technology infrastructure improvements at Pentucket Lake Elementary School, Bradford Elementary School, Golden Hill Elementary School and Walnut Square School. The project at each school is expected to cost roughly $75,000 to complete, DiFalco said.

    A smaller expenditure of $25,000 is slated for the Greenleaf Elementary School, which serves kindergarten through second grade. The school is scheduled to close upon completion of the new Hunking School.

    The Haverhill school district was able to complete the second phase of a three-part wifi infrastructure project during Summer 2014, by installing cables, wireless access points, and switches in Consentino, Nettle and J.G. Whittier Middle Schools.

    The district was able to save more than $300,000 on the Middle School wifi project by purchasing all the cabling, wireless access points and switches, and having all installation performed by members of the Technology and Facilities departments, DiFalco said.

    A complete wifi infrastructure was installed at Haverhill High School in 2011, with both bond and grant funding. The cost was roughly $1 million.

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