Grant Awards:

IBM, GTE provide $500,000 for tech-ed curriculum

IBM Corp. and GTE Corp. have made a combined $500,000 grant to support the creation of an interactive curriculum that will teach eighth-, ninth-, and 10th-graders about computer usage and prepare them for information technology (IT)-related professions.

The course will be developed by Classroom Inc., a leader in developing technology-rich instructional materials and teacher professional development programs for underresourced schools. Using computer-generated scenarios, students will learn algebra and language arts as they engage in collaborative problem solving, decision making, and critical thinking activities, Classroom Inc. says. The program will be available to schools nationwide in time for the fall 2000 academic period.

“The need for this simulation is critical, given that students who fail to master algebra are cut off from pursuing a range of rewarding professions—including many in the IT industry,” said Madeline Lacovara, president of Classroom Inc. “The simulation will directly address this pressing concern.”

IBM and GTE also will support the program with technical expertise, said Stanley S. Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation and vice president of IBM’s Corporate Community Relations.

Classroom Inc. is a New York City-based nonprofit founded in 1991. It develops and distributes interactive curricula, provides teacher training and professional development programs, and undertakes research into how children acquire academic and critical thinking skills. It currently operates statewide in South Dakota and West Virginia and in urban school districts in New York City, Houston, and Philadelphia.

Contact: Kalpana Kanthan, (212) 545-8400

SmartForce creates $10 million program to close Digital Divide

SmartForce, an internet education firm that creates K-12 and adult education and training programs, awarded 400 scholarships in the Oakland, Calif., area as the first step in a planed $10 million scholarship program aimed at closing the Digital Divide. The company says it will award at least another 600 scholarships in the Oakland area this year, and it will expand the program to other states and eventually reach 100,000 people with free courses worth $1,000 each.

The scholarships entitle students to one year of access to more than 1,000 courses on SmartForce’s online system. The courses are supplemented by seminars, discussion groups, and online mentors.

The initial scholarships have been given to the Oakland Unified School District’s Adult Education Technology Center, Oakland NetDay, the Eastmont Computing Center, and the Women’s Economic Agenda Project. By working through community groups, SmartForce officials say their program will be replicated in future years with more participants. While most trainees will be adults, the company is reserving spots this year and in the future for high schoolers.

The company also is lining up computer manufacturers to donate equipment to scholarship recipients for accessing the SmartForce courses, company officials said.

eRate funds bring San Antonio district fully online

Supported by a substantial grant from the eRate program, San Antonio’s Edgewood Independent School District recently completed installation of a new digital voice and data communications network.

The $12.7 million system brings high-speed internet connections into every primary, middle, and high school classroom in the district. It was designed and installed by Siemens Information and Communication Networks.

A key feature of the network is its modern digital telephone system, said Mikel Brightman, the district’s executive director. The new phone system improves communication between parents, teachers, and administrators by providing voice mail boxes for all teachers and staff.

Edgewood’s system consists of a wide area network (WAN) for school-to-school-to-administrative hub communications and local area networks (LANs) at each of the district’s 26 schools and administration buildings. The network can be expanded to support networking with non-district systems, such as libraries or museums, if the district obtains additional federal funding, school officials said.

Contact: David Ochoa, (210) 444-7955 or

Toyota taps 50 Tapestry Award winners

In late February and early March, Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. contacted the 50 winners of its 2000 Toyota Tapestry Awards, a competition for K-12 schools to create multidisciplinary projects with environmental and physical science themes. The projects, which carry a maximum award of $10,000 each, will result in grants of more than $350,000 for the 2000-2001 school year.

Winning proposals span a wide range of grades and activities, and many use the internet or other scientific instrumentation to achieve goals. “Creative use of technology” is a principal goal of the program.

Grant recipients are chosen by Toyota conjunction with a panel selected by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and projects focus on efficient use of natural resources. The director of each project receives an all-expenses-paid trip to NSTA’s annual conference, to be held this year from April 6-9 in Orlando, at which time the grants will be announced formally.

Stulgis Fund recipients describe projects

Last year’s winners of $5,000 grants from the Unitil Charitable Foundation spoke on February 16 at an education conference in Manchester, N.H., about what they have been able to achieve with the foundation’s support. The funds, which encourage innovative use of technology in the classroom, are reserved for private and public secondary schools in the Fitchburg and Lawrence areas in Massachusetts and the Capital and Seacoast regions of New Hampshire.

Projects included:

Sanborn Regional High School students in Kingston, N.H., produced a television documentary on the nearby Sanborn wetlands.

High school students in the New Hampshire Science Instrumentation Program and the Oyster River Cooperative School District in Durham, N.H., now can further use high-tech spectroscopy equipment after the purchase of accessories.

Austin Preparatory School students in Reading, Mass., created an interdisciplinary project on issues of prejudice, aided by internet communication with several communities around the world.

Since its inception in 1997, the Peter J. Stulgis Memorial Fund has committed more than $62,000 to a total of 14 innovative electronic and computer technology projects in local high schools. The Unitil Charitable Foundation facilitates administration of the Stulgis Fund.

Contact: George Gantz, (603) 772-0775

Detroit-area libraries link up with schools

Three community libraries in Wayne County, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, will use $160,000 in federal grants this spring to purchase computers, improve internet access, and support elementary school teachers who are training their students to use computers.

The Library Services and Technology grants, distributed through the state of Michigan from the U.S. Department of Education, will be provided to Canton Township (nearly $105,000), River Rouge ($24,000), and Taylor ($31,000).

The grants recognize that the libraries, particularly Canton Township, have demonstrated leadership in bringing the internet to the community and integrating libraries into the public education system. The Canton Township library was one of the first public libraries to offer internet access to its patrons, and in 1997 the library was honored by the American Library Association as “The Library of the Future” for its work with students.

With the funds, the Canton Township library will purchase six laptop computers, a 36-inch monitor, and a monitor cart for each of three elementary schools in the area, said Jean Tabor, the township’s library director. The library’s staff will help teachers create their own web sites to provide homework helpers, links to favorite sites, and parent information. The library’s web site will host the teacher sites.

The library also will host a listserv through which teachers, parents, and library staff can stay in contact. “For years, we’ve tried to improve communication with schools,” said Tabor. “We want to find out when a hot homework topic was assigned before all the books are checked out of the library.” n

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Deaconess Foundation gives $500,000 to computerize school nursing records

Filled with transient students with poor access to health care, St. Louis Public Schools will have a computer network in place this fall through which school nurses can share information about students’ health.

Made possible by a $500,000 grant from the St. Louis-based Deaconess Foundation, the network will enable the school system to keep track of the estimated 60 percent of students who switch schools each year, school officials said. Not only will the network improve recordkeeping by nurses; it also may be the first step toward expanding the ability of school officials to track a variety of information on students, said Peter McGehee, executive director of the district’s technology office.

The Deaconess Foundation was created with funds from the Deaconess Incarnate World Health System, but the two organizations are not affiliated. The foundation is dedicated to improving the health of metropolitan St. Louis.

(314) 436-8001

Edward E. Ford Foundation provides $50,000 for technology endowment fund

The Edward E. Ford Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., has awarded $50,000 to Sandia Preparatory School of Albuquerque, N.M., so that the school can establish a technology endowment fund. Income from the fund will be used to purchase computers and pay for other technology needs. Sandia Prep matched the grant with $57,000 it raised.

The Ford Foundation supports secondary education in independent schools through matching gifts for a variety of technology, environmental, and arts projects. The foundation supports projects with grants of up to $100,000, although the typical maximum is $50,000. Former IBM executive and Ford heir Edward E. Ford established the foundation in 1957, and the organization has made nearly 1,800 grants totaling $58 million.

Sandia Prep, founded in 1966, has an enrollment of 575 students in grades six through 12.

(202) 955-1028

ICONnect ICPrize winners collect $1,000 toward technology purchases

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) awarded $1,000 in January to each of five media specialists through its 2000 ICONnect ICPrize for Collaboration Through Technology program. The annual prize is awarded as part of AASL’s ICONnect technology initiative.

The prizes can be used to purchase technology for the library media center or to support travel to attend a state or national conference. Applicants were required to be AASL members and to team up with a teacher on a curriculum-related project that uses the internet as a resource.

Recipients of this year’s grants are:

• Charlotte Bruce, library media specialist, and Catherine Colglazier, participating teacher, at McLean High School in McLean, Va. Students were asked to write an original piece of spy fiction and use research skills, including internet resources, to establish realistic espionage plots and characterizations.

• Barbara Jinkins, library media specialist, and Patti Flowers and Shannon Rodrigues, participating teachers, at Edna Mae Fielder Elementary School in Katy, Texas. After reading biographies, fifth-grade students developed road map timelines of the individuals’ lives. Facts about the time were researched through print resources, CD-ROMs, eMail, video, and the internet.

• Patt Moser, library media specialist, and Laura Byerlee, Ross Lenet, Ann Wasserman, and Paula Wang, participating teachers, at Sidwell Friends Upper School in Washington, D.C. To learn about the various invertebrate and vertebrate phyla in the animal kingdom, students in ninth-grade biology each researched an animal’s phylum, created a PowerPoint presentation about it, then taught their classmates. Teachers learned how to create a web page for a description of the class assignment.

• Sue A. Roberts, library media specialist, and Larry Wiley, participating teacher, at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Wash. While the Inglemoor High School gymnasium was under construction, the “Multimedia Fitness” project asked students to think of a real-life issue that affects their own fitness, frame a question about an issue of concern, and seek answers by searching the web. They also evaluated the quality of web sources and organized the information into a Hyperstudio presentation.

• Deborah Svenson, library media specialist, and Amy Elliott and Lori McKinney, participating teachers, at Forestwood Middle School in Flower Mound, Texas. Working with the school library media specialist, the two teachers traveled to Alaska to give their students the opportunity to become partners on the Iditarod journey described in the novel “Woodsong” by Gary Paulsen through daily eMail letters, live videoconferencing from Anchorage, digital images, and a daily online journal.

(800) 545-2433

Howard Computers, International Paper create technology center in Mississippi

The Harrison County (Mississippi) School Board opened a teacher technology training center in late January with 24 computers donated by Gulfport, Miss., businesses Howard Computers and International Paper. The Gulf Coast Education Initiative Consortium will run the center.

“We’ve targeted education as our market,” said David Perkins, vice president of Howard Computers. “We want to support education, and we want to be part of the learning process.”

Having a centralized training facility will give teachers access to state-of-the-art computers and software, instead of having trainers and teachers rely on whatever equipment is available in computer labs across the state, said a consortium member. Training will be free to all school districts in the state.

Using the new lab for training teachers also will free up other computer labs for more courses and activity time for students, the consortium member said.

(228) 867-8770

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