$7.4 million to 67 Idaho districts from the Idaho Department of Education
Idaho school districts will use more than $7.4 million in federal grants to train teachers and pay for projects that will improve the use of technology in classrooms. The grants are funded through the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and administered through the state Department of Education.
“We funded many exciting, innovative approaches to using technology to assist student learning and to help teachers better understand how to use technology in the classroom,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Marilyn Howard said.
Members of the Idaho Council for Technology in Learning reviewed the applications and decided to fund 93 projects for 67 school districts during the 2000-2001 school year.
“This year, we received more applications than ever before and were able to fund more projects,” said David Breithaupt, of the state Department of Education. “Unfortunately, there were quality proposals that were not funded simply because we ran out of money.”
The applications are evaluated on several factors, the project’s quality, the project’s connection to district technology goals, and how the applicant plans to evaluate the project’s effectiveness.
Contact: (208) 332-6800
$5 million to 20 nationwide consortia from WorldCom and Brown University
WorldCom and Brown University have announced grants to 20 programs nationwide that link public schools or community organizations with local colleges or universities to develop educational technology projects for youths in underserved areas.
The $5 million Making a Civic Investment program, funded by WorldCom and administered by Campus Compact at Brown, goes beyond funding for computer hardware and software, officials said.
“This effort brings together community groups, the private sector, higher education, and schools to help build stronger, more vibrant communities,” said Jonathan B. Sallet, WorldCom chief policy counsel. “Our purpose is to improve learning through technology, not just through the provision of hardware and software, but by teaching students to use technology to learn and thrive in today’s technology-rich environment.”
The programs range widely from urban schools to Native American tribal communities; from online community newspapers to urban gardens to web sites that gather neighborhood history. They vary geographically from Spokane, Wash., to Lorman, Miss., to Miami.
Each program will receive annual funding for two years and will be eligible for continued funding for five years. Leaders of the 20 programs qualify for annual professional development programs at Brown. WorldCom and its UUNET subsidiary will ensure that each project has high-speed internet access for the term of the grant. Although the size of individual projects varies, most grants will total more than $200,000 during five years. More than 160 community-based programs applied for grants.
Making a Civic Investment expands on WorldCom’s commitment to support education using cutting-edge technology. The WorldCom Foundation’s Marco Polo program features a comprehensive teacher-training kit and is available online at no cost through the program’s web site (http://www.wcom.com/marcopolo). In December, WorldCom announced an initiative to provide specialized internet training for all teachers in seven Mississippi Delta states. In April, WorldCom committed to provide high-speed wireless internet service to schools and libraries in four rural communities: Hattiesburg, Miss.; Douma, La.; Dothan, Ala.; and Raleigh, N.C.
$800,000 to the Minnesota Computers for Schools program from the Blandin Foundation
Minnesota Computers for Schools, a public-private partnership that provides technology tools to Minnesota schools, received an $800,000 grant from the Blandin Foundation to keep the program afloat.
Because of a lapse in state funding, the program was within hours of cutting its operations when the donation was announced.
David Jennings, president of the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, said the Blandin Foundation grant and a $200,000 grant from the Star Tribune Foundation will ensure the program continues into 2001 without interruption.
The chamber has helped the Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning coordinate the program since 1998. Additional state funding is expected to be approved in 2001, Jennings said.
During the past three years, the program has collected more than 19,000 computers, had them refurbished by prisoners who are being taught new job skills, and donated them to more than 200 Minnesota school districts.
The Blandin Foundation, based in Grand Rapids, targets its grants to strengthen rural communities.
Contact: (877) 882-2257
$100,000 to School Administrative District 42 from Guilford of Maine
Inspired by Maine Gov. Angus King’s proposal to give laptop computers to the state’s seventh-graders, a Guilford-based textile manufacturer is offering to help the local school district provide laptops for its middle school pupils.
Guilford of Maine has agreed to put up $100,000 in the next two years if School Administrative District 42 can match the donation.
King’s $50 million proposal would supply all seventh-graders in Maine with their own laptop computers that they would keep until they finished high school. Lawmakers were lukewarm to King’s proposal and have voted to study the issue further. The school district’s plan is not quite as ambitious, but is seen as a first in Maine.
The laptops in District 42 would not become students’ property and would be kept at school for future pupils. Students would not take them home or keep them through high school.
The plan would provide Apple iBooks, with a retail cost of about $1,600 each, for the district’s 150 seventh- and eighth-graders, said Superintendent Norman Higgins. Piscataquis Community Middle School already has 17 laptops bought with a federal technology literacy grant awarded last fall, and the district expects to be able to afford at least 75 iBooks, he said.
Guilford of Maine wants to invest in the laptops to make sure the future work force meets the company’s needs, said spokeswoman Tara Pineo. More than 41 percent of those employed at the company’s mill live in the district, she added.
“I think it’s terrific,” King said of the grant. “Clearly, this company understands the concept and the importance.” The governor added that he hoped Guilford of Maine’s pledge would inspire other companies to team with school districts around the state.