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$150K grant will help schools integrate technology into ELA curriculum

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has named Beaufort County Schools a recipient of a $150,000 Digital Learning Implementation Grant.

The school system will receive $75,000 for the 2020-21 school year, followed by an equal amount in the following school year. The money will be used to integrate technology into the school system’s newly adopted English/language arts curriculum.

“We are super excited that the majority of these funds are actually going to go back to our teachers, so teacher leaders will get the opportunity to come in over the summer and work on developing some of the curriculum that has the technology implemented in it,” said Emily Myers, the district’s secondary curriculum director.

The school system submitted its grant application in December 2020. Per the application document, the school system’s goal is to have all of its English/language arts teachers “demonstrate mastery of integrating digital teaching and learning as evidenced by exemplifying the four pillars of Personalized Learning” by 2022.

“A thorough analysis of the Digital Learning Progress Rubric highlighted the need to balance technological resources as a part of digital teaching and learning,” the school system said in the “statement of need” section of its application. “Beaufort County Schools is developing in content and instruction.

“While the district has made tremendous gains in infrastructure and devices, the data shows us there is a need to shift the role of the educator to facilitator and incorporate personalized learning across the district. The data also shows us that there is a need for a repository of teacher curated and developed digital content that can provide data to inform instruction.”

In the proposed budget included with its application, BCS indicated that approximately $45,492.33 of the $75,000 it is set to receive for the 2020-21 school year will be used to provide $175-per-day stipends to a group that includes 47 teachers who will serve as content specialists in the curriculum development process for three days, as well as 12 teachers who will work as technology specialists for five days. Of the rest of the first allocation, $22,395.91 will go toward hardware and software purchases, $4,611.76 will go toward contracting an instructional design specialist, and $2,500 will cover professional development expenses.