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State approves $554,838 technology grant for Kendall schools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2017 at 6:44 pm

KENDALL – The school district has been approved for a $544,838 technology grant that will boost high-speed Internet access and also allow every high school student to have a device connected to the Internet.

The state announced the funding for Kendall and 64 other school districts on Friday. The state approved $44 million for the “Smart Schools Investment Plans.” The money is part of $2 billion approved in 2014 by New York voters in the Smart Schools Bond Act. The funding is “aimed at reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century,” Gov. Cuomo said on Friday.

Kendall school leaders have been working on the “Smart Schools” plan the past two years with the State Education Department, said Julie Christensen, the school district superintendent.

Kendall’s grant has $99,034 devoted to school connectivity and $445,804 to classroom technology.

The district will have enhanced broadband and Internet access, Christensen said today.

Kendall will also be providing one-to-one technology for students in grades 7-12 as a pilot in 2017-18, beginning in September, the superintendent said.

The district will also upgrade its elementary computer lab, which will be available later this month. The district will also add laptops and iPads for grades kindergarten through 6.

“We’re pleased the funding has finally become available to access technology hardware and software to ensure our students are prepared for 21st Century learning,” she said.

Cuomo said the state will use the funding to equip students with the skills they need to thrive and succeed in the global economy, and close the “digital divide” in hundreds of schools across the state.

With the Smart Schools Act, many school districts are investing in technology such as computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity, Cuomo said. This technology helps students to learn at their own pace, expands access to advanced courses and interactive curriculum, and enhances communication between parents and teachers.

“The Smart Schools Bond act has played a critical role in expanding educational opportunity by helping schools modernize outdated classrooms,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This funding ensures that all of New York’s students –no matter their zip code—have access to the technology that has become so essential to modern education by preparing them to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.”

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