$18 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced it will donate $18 million as a supplement to California’s Assembly Bill 75, which allocates $45 million to train 15,000 of the state’s principals and vice principals in technology leadership skills over the next three years.

The bill—signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis in October—states that districts will receive $3,000 for every administrator trained but stipulates that districts would be forced to pay matching funds of $1,000. The Gates Foundation will cover all of the matching funds necessary to fully train principals, half the funds necessary for vice principals, and an extra $750,000 for superintendent training.

The training will focus on several aspects of school administration, including the use of instructional technology, student assessment techniques, financial management, personnel, curriculum development, and academic standards.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $100 million nationwide to help provide every superintendent and principal in public and private schools with access to quality professional development.


$14.4 million from the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and Ohio SchoolNet

A federal grant program managed by Ohio SchoolNet provided school districts in that state with more than $14.4 million in “Raising the Bar” grants this year.

According to a SchoolNet spokeswoman, 68 grants were provided to different school districts across the state: 53 at the $200,000 level, 14 at the $250,000 mark, and one at the $300,000 level. The grants were made possible by the federal Technology Literacy Challenge Fund program.

A $250,000 allotment, for example, was given to Piqua City Schools to help fund equipment that the district hopes will provide more technology-based learning opportunities. The grant will pay for equipment and training for teachers to learn how to use internet tools to improve lesson planning, curriculum design, and parental engagement.


$3.5 million from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation

The Idaho Department of Education will benefit from a $3.5 million grant courtesy of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. The grant will be used to launch a new, high-tech school information system in 15 districts across the state.

The Idaho Student Information Management System will provide web-based tools and programs dedicated to the supply of information and resources to parents, teachers, and educational policy-makers. Parents will be able to check their children’s test scores and assignments via the web. Teachers will be able to gather test results and share lesson plans. Schools will be able to compare their performance with schools of similar demographics, and policy-makers will be able to observe important educational trends.

The grant will cover the costs of software, technical support, and training for the web-based program. State Superintendent Marilyn Howard said she expects the system to be operational in November 2002. Although only 15 districts have been asked to participate in the original implementation, Howard said she will lobby for an additional $2.1 million from next year’s budget to expand the project to all districts.


$120,000 in cash and equipment from Verizon Information Services

As part of its ongoing commitment to improving computer literacy in the communities it serves, Dallas-based Verizon Information Services—a business unit of Verizon Communications—presented a $45,000 cash grant to North Dallas High School (NDHS) that will provide computers, software, and books to enhance the computer literacy skills of students. The donation also includes $75,000 worth of refurbished PCs to be used in the school’s computer lab.

NDHS is an inner-city school with more than 90 percent minority enrollment, including students from more than 32 countries. NDHS “Partners in Education” President James Parham said, “We are extremely grateful to Verizon Information Services for their generous contribution. It will make possible a significant expansion of our computer education curriculum, and it will help ensure that our students are able to compete for desirable, career-oriented jobs after they graduate.”

Verizon’s grant will fund the purchase of new computers and associated software and learning materials that will be located in a main computer lab in the school’s library and smaller labs in designated classrooms. In addition, students in computer repair classes will use computers donated from Verizon’s inventory.

Verizon Information Services is a print and online directory publisher and a content provider for communications products and services.