Governor Nathan Deal today announced that 33 rural, high-need school districts will be awarded nearly $4 million from the Digital Learning Device Rural Grant Program. Administered by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), the grants will enable awarded districts to purchase laptops or tablets to enable digital learning and fully utilize their recently expanded network connectivity.
This round builds on the $77 million in grants that Connections for Classrooms has provided to 159 districts and state schools for network upgrades over the last two years. As a result of these grants and federal E-Rate funds, many schools now have or will soon have wireless internet access to their classrooms. In conjunction with this announcement, GOSA also released a series of case studies that describe what the grants have enabled in five districts: Ben Hill County, Fulton County, Georgia School for the Deaf, Hall County, and Thomas County. Each case study tells a unique story about how the increased connectivity has changed instruction and increased student opportunities.
For the current grant round, 58 districts applied by the October 29 deadline for $11.9 million in grant funds. Strong applicants clearly described how this grant will enable them to change instruction to implement digital learning, specifically facilitating learning with technology that gives students some control over time, place, path, and/or pace. In addition, they demonstrated their need for devices, outlined their device selection/deployment/maintenance plans, and provided assurance of network preparedness to support devices. Applications were scored by external reviewers with expertise in digital and blended learning.
The list of awardees is included at the bottom of this announcement.
About Connections for Classrooms
Connections for Classrooms is a grant program joining multiple state agencies around the common goal of ensuring Georgia schools and classrooms have the high-speed broadband access required for digital and blended learning. The program is part of a broader statewide effort to expand classroom high-speed broadband access in response to Governor Deal’s Digital Learning Task Force recommendations as well as the GaDOE’s efforts to enable personalized learning for Georgia students. Across the three previous grant rounds, the program has provided more than $77 million in grants to 159 LEAs to accomplish this goal and has enabled them to be eligible for up to $130 million in federal E-rate funds for the same purpose. Released in December 2016, the Connections for Classrooms Annual Report includes program information from the last year.