South Carolina Schools Receive $74,500 in Funding from the Verizon Foundation

Columbia, S.C. – The Verizon Foundation has awarded South Carolina schools $74,500 in grants to raise teachers’ awareness of the free educational resources available from Thinkfinity.org and to train teachers to integrate these resources into the classroom.

Included in this investment is a $24,500 grant for the South Carolina Department of Education. "A major goal of our Office of eLearning Instructional Technology Coach initiative is to increase awareness and effective use of high-quality digital content for classroom instruction. This partnership with the Verizon Foundation allows us to expand our efforts in this respect and we are particularly pleased to have made this connection with the eleven premier content provider organizations participating in the Thinkfinity.org program," said Dee Appleby, director of the South Carolina Department of Education Office of eLearning.

In addition to the South Carolina Department of Education grant, several South Carolina schools received funds totaling $50,000 to enhance their Science Technology and Math (STEM) programs using free resources at Thinkfinity.org, the recipients are:

• Lexington School District 5 - Chapin Middle School
$8,500
Funding will be used to continue and expand the scope of the Chapin Middle School girls’ science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

• Fairfield Magnet School for Math & Science
$8,000
Funding will help implement the Invention Convention, which kicks learning up a notch by integrating into all areas of the STEM programs.

• Florence County School District Three
$8,000
Funding will support its staff development program for teacher training and resources that enhance programs for STEM across the school district.

• Georgetown County School District
$8,250
Funding will help the district upgrade technology and teacher development to better integrate science and mathematics concepts in the classroom.

• Richland County School District One
$9,000
Funding is for Integrating Technology that's Effective and Meaningful (ITEM), which will focus on teachers and students using Thinkfinity.org as an effective and meaningful way to integrate technology to meet South Carolina standards.

• Greenville County School District - Welcome Elementary School
$8,250
Funding will allow math teachers at Welcome Elementary to launch the I Love Math Now! program, which is designed to reinforce classroom learning with engaging, hands-on math instruction. The grant will provide funding to purchase math curriculum that creates an experiential learning environment for math concepts.

Thinkfinity.org contains thousands of free, engaging educational resources that make learning fun, including K-12 lesson plans, in-class activities and videos that can be found quickly and searched by grade level, keyword or subject. Thinkfinity.org resources are aligned to state and national standards and offer elementary through high school teachers resources across eight academic disciplines, from science to English to mathematics, to improve student achievement.

In addition to providing standards-based resources from the nation’s leading educational organizations, Thinkfinity.org also offers a comprehensive professional-development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online or face-to-face training to learn how to make the most of Thinkfinity.org tools.

The grants announced today will be used to:
• Provide professional development opportunities to classroom teachers, college of education faculty/staff and students statewide through on-site and online training.
• Raise awareness of Thinkfinity.org resources and professional development opportunities to educators statewide.

“Whether it’s an English teacher looking for resources to spark a love of reading in a student, or a parent seeking a convenient and user-friendly educational activity to stimulate the mind of a young child, Thinkfinity.org will help them quickly and easily find the information needed to improve student achievement,” said Julie C. Smith, vice president of external affairs, Southeast region Verizon.

Content for Thinkfinity.org is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation’s leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Council for Economic Education, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

For more information on the South Carolina Department of Education Thinkfinity.org roll out of professional development please visit: http://scde.mrooms.org/index.php?page=1394, or email [email protected] .

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