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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2008

Governor Blagojevich announces State working to ‘bridge technology gap’ for students
Nearly $5 million in federal grants awarded to 16 districts; money used for technology upgrades and training

SPRINGFIELD — Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced nearly $5 million in technology grants have been awarded to 16 districts around the state, for the 2008-2009 school year. The Illinois Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grants are designed to make sure all students have both the access and ability to use emerging technologies inside the classroom.
 
“As technology continues to improve every day, our teachers are doing their very best to get our students ready for success in careers that may not even exist yet,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Getting technology into our classrooms today is vital, not just for the future success of our students, but the future success of our state – ensuring we can be competitive in the global economy.”
 
The EETT grant comes from federal funding as part of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and is designed to improve the use of technology inside the classroom by both students and teachers. The goal is to improve student achievement and bridge the technology gap that may exist with students from high-poverty districts. The grant also funds ongoing professional development for teachers.
 
Districts must use 75 percent of the grant money on technology hardware needs, such as computers, laptops, digital cameras, and interactive whiteboards. The rest must be used for professional development opportunities. Those opportunities can include preparing one or more teachers as technology leaders within the district who can then assist other teachers, as well as using the new technology to promote parental involvement and foster communication among students, parents and teachers about curricula, assignments and assessments.
 
“Technology is ever changing and always evolving. Students in today’s classrooms have more access and opportunities to use technology as part of their everyday learning,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “In order for our students to be 21st century learners and have the skills needed in the workplace tomorrow, our districts and teachers must have access to today’s technology, which is what this grant provides.”
 
A total of 94 districts applied for the one-year competitive grant, this spring. Nearly half of the state’s public school districts were eligible to apply. Each eligible district has a high percentage of students living below the poverty level, according to the 2005 U.S. Census, and has either one or more schools in federal improvement status or federal corrective action status for not making Adequate Year Progress (AYP), as required by NCLB, or a substantial technology need.
 
The 16 districts receiving the EETT grants, totaling approximately $4.7 million are:
 
  • Canton Union SD 66                             $269,453
  • Carterville CUSD 5                                $380,000
  • Carrollton CUSD 1                                $206,650
  • Charleston CUSD 1                              $222,695
  • East Maine SD 63                                  $380,000
  • Effingham CUSD 40                             $260,201
  • Elverado CUSD 196                             $201,316
  • Harlem CSD 122                                  $379,404
  • Hoover Schrum Memorial SD 157     $227,699
  • Marshall CUSD C-2                             $330,057
  • Meridian CUSD 223                            $379,916
  • Morris SD 54                                         $377,256
  • Prairie-Hills ESD 144                          $379,809
  • Sunnybrook SD 171                             $222,254
  • United CUSD 304                                 $224,784
  • Unity Point CCSD 140                          $345,012


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