Valley Forge Elementary awarded $300,000 grant

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

Valley Forge Elementary School was has been chosen as a recipient of a $300,000 technology grant.
   The announcement came Monday from the Tennessee Department of Education that 14 schools in Tennessee will each receive an EdTech Launch 2 grant.
   Valley Forge Elementary Principal Jennifer Phillips-Clark said the grant money will be used to further expand the school's technology by placing 78 new computers in every classroom in grades K-5. The lower grades will receive three new computers in each room, while upper grades have six computers placed in them.
   All the classrooms have computers right now, though some of the them are very old and cannot accommodate the new programs that Phillips-Clark and the other writers of the grant want to purchase.
   Two of the programs to be purchased are Standards Masters software and Destination Reading and Mathematics.
   Phillips-Clark said, "Everything ties in with the No Child Left Behind requirements."
   The money will also be used to hire a technology coach to manage the new computers, train teachers and other staff, and monitor student progress. All the computers will be connected to the Internet and to a network. Phillips-Clark also hopes to expand parent involvement by using email to contact parents and to provide a newsletter over the Internet as some parents prefer.
   The systems will "be in place by the time the doors open in August," said Phillips-Clark.
   Computers in the school system are now used to coordinate and teach the students in conjunction with regular classroom instruction. Past the days of students playing Oregon Trail, the computers supplement lessons and provide standardized programs coordinated with NCLB.
   "Students have to be able to be technology literate," she said.
   Other area schools receiving the grant were Love Chapel Elementary, Unicoi; Boones Creek Middle School, Washington County, and Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport.
   "This was a real surprise and a big blessing to us," said Phillips-Clark.