Thursday, May 29, 2008
Laptop grant goes to Holly Springs schools
By SUE WATSON
A pilot project that put 45 Apple laptop computers in the sixth and seventh grade classes last year was so successful the school was awarded a grant to buy enough computers to outfit the entire ninth grade this fall.
The project provides laptops for both instructors and students, according to Jones Mays with the Holly Springs School District.
“This fall the grant goes to the implementation stage starting with the ninth grade,” Mays said.
The $189,000 grant also provides a technical facilitator to make sure this year 130 students are successful in the use of computers in the classroom, Mays said.
Wireless Internet, available at the library and a few other places in the school, will be available throughout the entire campus this year, he said.
The laptops are pre-loaded with software geared toward the classroom with the goal of preparing students for either the workforce or for higher education.
Mays said the school district has received $1.5 million so far, including this grant, for computer technology and training. The E2T2 grant from the U.S. Department of Education is a highly competitive grant process, he said, with only eight out of 65 districts in the state receiving the award.
Last year’s pilot grant showed overall growth in the third and fourth nine-week evaluation period to be 30 percent in the sixth grade based on the Edusoft standardized tests, according to Mays. The seventh grade saw a 15 percent growth in language arts.
Mays said superintendent Irene Walton was very supportive of this innovative initiative last year and again this year. Mayor Andre’ DeBerry, senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran and McDonald’s also provided letters of support critical to the grant award.
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