At the last Grants & Funding for School Technology conference in Washington, D.C. in November, I was approached by two people from Guam Community College. What about funding resources for the very specific telecommunications challenges of our U.S. territories?–they wanted to know.

Well, that was an excellent question. I just didn’t happen to know the answer, having spent most of my telecommunications and education fundraising years in Texas and Washington, D.C. Luckily, I spotted a program officer from the U.S. Department of Education and pointed them in her direction.

But it’s a great question to ask, and put more broadly, it’s this: Just as there are differences among regions in how schools acquire and use technology–a four-room schoolhouse in a remote Wyoming town isn’t going to have the same needs and challenges as, say, D.C. Public Schools–aren’t there differences in how schools find and secure sources of funding for that technology?

Since these differences are becoming more and more at issue as schools compete with each other for scarce resources, we decided we’d look at exactly this issue in our next conference, Grants & Funding for School Technology West, to be held in San Diego on April 29 and 30.

Find your opportunity

A panel of fundraising experts, including Dr. Stan Levenson, author of How to Get Grants and Gifts for K-12 Schools, will discuss how schools in the western U.S. face special challenges–and unique opportunities–in their search for technology funds.

For instance, California schools need to understand the advantage, and responsibility, of their proximity to the high-tech hotbed, according to Gerald Bartlett, a fundraising consultant with San Francisco-based GB3 Group.

Developing a high-tech work force, Bartlett says, is “a hugely burning issue” for corporate philanthropists in Silicon Valley.

He points to companies who are looking for help developing workforce feeder systems, such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Oracle, and “the millions they are committing to setting up pre-competitive workforce development models” to find new sources of workers.

“If you understand these issues,” Bartlett says, “you are better prepared to sit at the discussion table when it comes time to ask a company to get involved in your school’s technology plan or program.”

School leaders from western U.S. states–including Texas, Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and Utah–will have the chance to explore these unique opportunities at the afternoon session on Friday, April 30. Panel members for the session will include Levenson; Richard Fabien, who heads up the technology program at San Diego Unified School District; and a grants officer from U.S. West.

The conference is presented by eSchool News and its co-sponsor, Teacher Universe, with additional support from Sphere Communications, Innovative Communications Inc., and America Online.

Know your stuff

The two-day event is a hands-on, how-to professional development conference that brings you face-to-face with corporate, foundation, and federal/state grant givers.

The conference is designed to help school leaders deliver grants-and-funding teams all the tools necessary to find and secure big dollars to buy the technology necessary to meet the Clinton administration’s goal to have all schools in the nation wired to the internet by the year 2000.

Conference attendees will learn how to research and write winning grant proposals, build relationships with key funders, forge public/private strategic alliances, and other strategies to build a strong fundraising program.

Connect with the experts

The speakers for Grants & Funding for School Technology West represent a lineup of nationally recognized professionals from education, government, and the private sector.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Terry Crane, president of the CEO Forum on Education & Technology. Crane, who is also the president of Jostens Learning Corp., will provide a unique perspective on how corporations, nonprofits, and schools can come together in powerful partnerships to integrate technology into the curriculum–and spur student achievement.

The event’s featured presenter is Kate L. Moore, president of the Schools and Library Division, the agency that oversees the eRate program. She’ll bring news of the latest rules, requirements, and timetables affecting the controversial program that is distributing $2 billion this year in telecommunications discounts to schools and libraries.

Other speakers include Cheryl Garnette, the acting director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Star Schools program; Marilyn Reznick, vice president of education for the AT&T Foundation; Allen Schmeider, vice president of K-20 education at JDL Technologies; C.J. Van Pelt, executive director of the Cisco Systems Foundation; and eSchool News columnist and grants specialist Deborah Ward, among others.

The conference will be held at the Wyndham Emerald Plaza hotel in downtown San Diego. Attendee space is limited for this event. We recommend you send your registration as soon as possible to guarantee a spot.

The registration fee is $390 until April 15, 1999. After April 15, the fee will be $450 per person.

To register online, visit http://www.eschoolnews.org/ To register by mail, write to eSchool News, Attn: Conf. Registration, 7920 Norfolk Ave., #900, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814. To register by phone, call (800) 394-0115 x119. To register by fax: (301) 913-0119.