Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Qwest Awards Eight Idaho Teachers with Tech Grants

The Qwest Foundation has awarded eight Idaho teachers with $75,000 in grant awards to improve technology in their classrooms. The state received nearly 100 grant applications this year.

“I am proud to partner with the Qwest Foundation to bring these innovative teachers’ ideas to life,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “More technology in the classroom helps raise student achievement by keeping students engaged and better preparing our youth for the ever-changing world that awaits them.”

Over the past six years, Qwest has donated more than $400,000 to Idaho teachers through the Qwest Foundation for Education grant program. The competitive grants are awarded to Idaho K-12 public school classroom teachers who demonstrate innovative uses of technology in the classroom.

“We have been very pleased with the creativity and overall excellence of the grant proposals,” Qwest Idaho President Jim Schmit. “This is a great opportunity for Qwest to make a positive difference in the lives of Idaho students and to help teachers.”

Here is the list of awards winners and a brief description of how they will use the grant funding:

• Neil Barson, Lake Hazel Middle School, Meridian School District: $7,660
Barson will make iPas (Interactive Pyware Assessment System) software and hardware available to band students. The program guides music students through practice sessions, assessing things like pitch and rhythm.

• Becky Pickard, Genesee Elementary School, Genesee School District: $9,917.98
Pickard will purchase 24 heart rate monitors, two pocket PCs and other supporting software and equipment that students will be able to use to graph heart rates, set fitness goals, track activities and use in other ways as part of their physical education classes.

• Fred Woolley, Sugar-Salem High School, Sugar-Salem School District: $9,709.64
Woolley will install three software-based driving simulators at Sugar-Salem High School.

• Vicki Krogstrand, Gifted and Talented PACE Program, Idaho Falls School District: $9,533.60
Krogstrand will create a virtual toy company to teach economics to her gifted and talented elementary school students in the Idaho Falls school district.

• Samantha Archibold Mora, Borah High School, Boise School District: $9,999.50
Mora will purchase 25 laptops and related software to create a mobile computer lab. Spanish classes will use the laptops to connect with students in Spain and Latin America, while English classes at Borah also will use the mobile lab to expand use of Internet-based writing technologies such as Google Documents.

• Shawn Tiegs, Highland Junior-Senior High School, Highland Joint School District: $9,950.00
Tiegs will purchase 16 handheld GPS units and five laptops to use in science classes at Highland Junior-Senior High School.

• Terrell Gardner, William Thomas Middle School, American Falls School District: $8,438.00
Gardner will purchase the equipment to videotape and make classroom activities available to students outside the classroom.

• Vana Richards, Carberry Intermediate School, Emmett School District: $9,791.00
Richards will purchase Celestron Sky Scout Personal Planetarium units, which use GPS technology to identify planets and starts. Combined with iPod touches and a MacBook computer, students can start reporting, researching, watching and developing video clips relating to the universe. They will also collaborate with local astronomers and share their projects with other area schools and members of the community.

The Qwest Foundation for Education grant funding will be available next year, thanks to Qwest. The new application will be posted on the State Department of Education’s Technology Services web site soon.

~ Melissa M.

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