Facebook has gifted the Crook County School District $450,000 to improve technology capabilities and enhance remote learning opportunities as students work from home due to COVID-19.
The grant, which supported the purchase of 255 laptops in March, will buy more Chomebooks, iPads, licenses for online curriculum, video technology in the classroom, Wi-Fi access, and invest in Career & Technical Education programs.
Technology improvements will allow CCSD to respond to what school leaders are calling the “new normal” even after the virus is behind us.
Despite the challenges of the current crisis, the Crook County School District sees an opportunity to be creative and innovative as the new Learning @ Home model is driving CCSD to utilize technology in new ways to serve local students through the end of this school year and beyond.
“Technology is rapidly changing the way we provide education at all grade levels, and we need to prepare for the future,” Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson said. “This grant from Facebook allows us to make significant investments in new tools so we can serve both students inside the traditional classroom and our families who might want to choose online learning long term.”
“We are honored to partner with Crook County School District to support students and families in Prineville during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that the situation presents new challenges for both students and educators; however, we hope that this partnership will help students continue their education and learning remotely,” said William Marks, Community Development Regional Manager, Facebook.
Facebook’s grant allows a personalized approach to distance education because students engaged in Learning @ Home can still meet with local teachers, access buildings and computers, and enjoy other programs like music, arts, and sports. CCSD plans grow its alternative education options starting this fall.
“Technology makes it possible for a more robust educational experience that serves the needs of all families in Crook County, and this district is committed to be being an innovative leader in the way we deliver education,” said School Board Chair Scott Cooper.
In March, Facebook grants also paid for the district to set up mobile hot spots.
Mobile wi-fi hotspots in the form of familiar yellow school buses, were deployed to six remote locations around the county, making state-certified lessons available to more students. The district was able to outfit its entire fleet with wi-fi routers thanks to the $30,000 grant.
“We are out here providing wi-fi for the kids who don’t have it at home or they are too far out, they can’t pick it up. So the parents can drive up here, park around the bus within 100 feet and pickup the school wi-fi to do their work,” said Connie Beachem, a Crook County School District bus driver.
Facebook has been part of the Prineville community since breaking ground on their data center in 2010. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/PrinevilleDataCenter/.