Monday, 15 July 2024

Local schools awarded state technology grants

LAKE COUNTY State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell has announced up to 1,257 grantees will share $32 million in Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grants.

Among the recipients are several local schools districts, receiving grants totaling more than $27,000.

"These grants help bridge the digital divide between the ‘have’ and ‘have-not’ students," said O’Connell. "All of our students, regardless of where they live or their parents’ income level, need to be prepared for today’s more global and technologically challenging economy. The appropriate use of technology in the classroom can be a critical component in students’ education and all students need access to technology."

The 1,257 grants represent both the formula and competitive portion of EETT that is funded through Title II, Part D of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

EETT is designed to assist every student in becoming technologically literate by the time they finish eighth grade, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability.

Local districts receiving funds are Kelseyville Unified, $3,280; Konocti Unified, $12,580; Lake County International Charter, $277; Lake County Office of Education, $598; Lakeport Unified, $4,771; Lucerne Elementary, $718; Middletown Unified, $2,189; Upper Lake Union Elementary, $2,029; and Upper Lake Union High, $696.

In the original application for EETT funding, eligible grantees included those schools with the highest number of students from low-income families and had a substantial need for help in acquiring and using technology in the classroom.

Some of the funding must be used to provide ongoing, intensive, high-quality professional development in the integration of advanced and emerging technologies into curricula and instruction, and in using those technologies to create new learning environments.

All the applicants must have a technology plan approved by the California Department of Education that met the EETT and State Board of Education criteria.

As a result of these conditions, no application was needed for this round of funding and the California Department of Education automatically generated and mailed the grant award documents each year funding was available.

This round of funding represents a 45-percent decrease from the previous year and a 62-percent decrease over two years because of federal funding reductions in the No Child Left Behind program.

The grant awards range from a low of $8 to a high of $4 million, with almost half of the EETT Formula grants under $2,000.

The drastically reduced funding is anticipated to only help school districts maintain their status quo and may fail to help them make progress toward their technology plans. The EETT program is currently slated for elimination from the federal budget in fiscal year 2008-09.

"The possibility that the EETT program could be eliminated is disturbing in light of the obvious need for more technology in the classroom," O’Connell said. "I am urging Congress to reestablish EETT funding to the 2004-05 level.”

He added, “California schools have invested enormous time, energy, and resources into creating an infrastructure and learning environment for our students to use technology as a tool in the classrooms. This progress must be continued to best prepare our students for success in our competitive global economy."


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