Photo Information

Students in grades 3 through 6 are taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a standardized test for elementary students, starting April 20, 2015. The online testing will continue for five weeks. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Khalil Ross/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Khalil Ross

Mokapu Elementary moves ahead of power curve

27 Apr 2015 | Cpl. Khalil Ross Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Mokapu Elementary School put their new fiber optic cable, which was installed April 11, to use with the new standardized tests that started April 20, 2015. Instead of the normal din that hundreds of elementary students can cause, the school is quiet and serene as the testing is conducted.

“Before (the upgrade), if all the teachers wanted to use digital components (in the classroom) it would slow the internet down so much,” said Keoki Fraser, the vice principal of Mokapu Elementary. “(Now) the benefit to the kids is going to be tremendous.”

The children, of which 99 percent are Marine and Navy offspring, will now be able to fully access their online testing without the traditional lag in the system they normally experienced, the Waimanalo, Hawaii, native said.

Stanley Nihei, the project manager from Time Warner Cable, oversaw the coax cable upgrade project completed by his team in Mokapu Elementary School.

“This particular project allowed us to replace the (old) cable with a new combination coax fiber optic cable for (a better) cyber connection,” he said. “The difference (in speed will be) dramatic.”

Paula Evans, the technology coordinator for Mokapu Elementary School, said the new fiber optic cable played a huge role in the new testing.

“Before we had a lot of connectivity issues, capacity issues and speed issues,” she said. “(Now), we haven’t had any (students) get dropped from this testing which (is) a big load on the network.”

This is because the school liaison officer made the proper connections between the right people in time for the new testing, Evans said.

“When the school on base has concerns that fall outside their realm of doing business they contact me,” said Amy Solomon, the school liaison officer for MCB Hawaii. “I see what I can do to help facilitate the work to get done.”

Evans worked with Solomon for years and said she has always been extremely helpful.

“(The school liaison officer) has been an integral part in connecting (the school) with commands on base and even third party companies off base.”

Solomon was able to connect the school with Marines from Communications & Information Systems Directorate along with a third party network company off base.

“The base was instrumental in planning to make sure the construction could happen and clear any hurtles that were in the way,” Fraser said. “The school liaison officer helped connect the right people to the job (in order for it to be completed).”

After the change in cables, network performance can increase from 10 megabits to one gigabit, depending on the need of the school, Nihei said.

“I think the cables are magnificent,” Evans said. “as testing and tech coordinator for this (test) I had nightmares about (students) getting kicked off the network, but this hasn’t happened and I don’t foresee it happening in the future.”

Taking care of service member’s families gives them one less thing to worry about, Solomon said.

“In order for the Marine to be ready (for combat) their family needs to be ready,” she said. “I see my role as assisting the readiness of the Marine by letting them know their most precious resource, their child, is cared for.”

Marine Corps Base Hawaii