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Grants helping schools improve student skills

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

As part of a statewide emphasis on improving English and language skills of high school students, Clay Community Schools have used two grants to equip classrooms with individual computers for students.

The first grant, called the Technology Plan Grant, is a non-competitive award given to corporations based on a three-year technology plan.

The Department of Education gives plan grants out in rounds, and Clay Community Schools were eligible in Round Three.

Technology Director Bill Milner and Curriculum Director Kathy Knust put the application for the grant together, beginning in April 2006.

Through the grant, the corporation received a total of $151,643 for instructional hardware and infrastructure between January and June of 2007.

The grant had to be divided based on population, so the money was used to install four rooms of 28 computers at Northview High School and one classroom of 30 computers at Clay City Jr./Sr. High School.

The second grant, the Ed Tech inACCESS competitive grant, was part of the Title IID -- Enhancing Education Through Technology program with the Indiana Department of Education.

Because of the competitive nature, the corporation had to select the most eligible school and submit ISTEP+ scores as well as other demographical statistics.

Knust said there was a very quick turn around between when the corporation was notified of eligibility and when the application was due.

"I remember rushing to the post office on a Friday to make sure it got sent out in time," Knust said.

In Clay County, Northview was the most eligible school, and the corporation received word of grant approval in October 2007.

The grant will provide $185,620 to Northview to continue furnishing English and language arts classrooms with computers.

$162,520 will be given to the school this year, and an additional $23,100 will be allotted in the 2008-09 school year for professional development.

The school will adhere to their proposal in order to receive all of the grant money, as well as participate in forums, evaluations and on-site visitations.

The inACCESS grant will provide an additional five rooms of 30 computers at Northview, which leaves all but two of the English classrooms complete with computers.

Knust said the goal for the corporation is to apply for another grant this spring and finish equipping Clay City with the computers needed for its English department.

Moodle, which provides an online classroom resource for teachers to use, and NovaNet, which can be used as a credit recovery program, are two of the programs being utilized on the inACCESS computers.

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