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BCPS receives Golden LEAF grant for technology

posted Dec 16, 2016, 11:11 AM by Cheryl Shuffler


Project DETAIL (Digital Education Teaching and Individualized Learning) -- an initiative by Burke County Public Schools -- has received support from the Golden LEAF Foundation in the form of a $200,000 grant. The purpose of the grant is to provide funding to Burke County Public Schools for implementation of a one-to-one digital learning initiative for middle school students and teachers.

The initiative will have a strong focus on building teacher leaders, said Dr. Melanie Honeycutt, chief information officer for the district. The funds will assist the district in purchasing devices for sixth-grade students and teachers and assist in professional development through a partnership with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to strengthen the district’s evaluation plan.

Honeycutt said, “Outcomes of the project include individual student growth as reflected in their digital portfolio, improvements in math proficiency scores and increased use of technology as an educational tool.”

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said the emphasis is on sixth grade as a continuation of the one-to-one learning opportunities students are exposed to in elementary school. He said, “Federal Title 1 allotments have allowed the district to focus on digital learning in the elementary grades and now, thanks to this opportunity from the Golden LEAF Foundation, when our students enter middle school, they will not take a step backward in instruction and student-centered learning due to the lack of devices available for staff and students.”

Over the past few years, the Burke County Board of Education has been committed to improving the technology infrastructure and increasing the number of devices in our schools. Project DETAIL comes on the heels of a rollout of 2,000 Chromebooks taking place now in the middle and high schools.

Putnam said, “Project DETAIL will add another 900 devices to secondary education and will not only put more devices in the hands of students but also allow for professional development for teachers on how to get the most out of the devices for instructional purposes. I thank our school board members for their support in this and other technological initiatives.”

Honeycutt said the district started working on the Project DETAIL proposal in August and received official word from Golden LEAF on funding earlier this month. Professional development for teachers will start in February and current fifth graders can look forward to using the devices in August in their sixth-grade classrooms.

Successful implementation of this grant could lead to future grants, and the Project DETAIL grant committee already has plans in place to apply for future Golden LEAF grants to further the mission of the initiative.


Photo: Salem Elementary School students participate in the Hour of Code in this file photo. Each Burke County Public Schools elementary student has access to a digital device in the classroom, and Project DETAIL, funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation, will afford the same opportunity to all sixth graders as well.