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Jefferson Co. schools get technology grants

July 11, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

Jefferson County, W.Va., junior high schools will divvy up more than $145,000 in grants to buy computers and a computer-based reading-enhancement program, said Doug Perks, Jefferson County Schools secondary curriculum coordinator.

Perks said he and Janice Kable, who wrote the grant proposal, wanted to begin using Econo-Clad Books' "Accelerated Reading Program" for students beginning in the seventh grade.

Perks said the Accelerated Reading Program is specifically designed to help students of all reading levels be able to better understand and enjoy what they are reading.

Perks said the program, which included buying computer software and books, would have cost between $7,000 and $9,000 for each school, but the school system will pay only a portion of that.

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He said he and Kable found out about the available state money and applied. They received the grant on Wednesday.

Perks called the grant "a real windfall for each junior high school," saying it will allow the schools to not only buy the full reading-enhancement packages, but also support for the three schools involved.

Shepherdstown Junior High Principal James Pingley said he did not know how the Board of Education would allocate the grant, but he was positive about it.

"Any money the schools can get in technology, the schools can use," he said.

Shepherdstown Junior High has an enrollment of about 400 students and has a computer lab with 30 "state of the art" computers, which are wired to the Internet, Pingley said. But there are not computers in every classroom, which would help educate students better, he said.

"We can rotate a lot of students with that (computer lab), but it's hard to provide every student with computer technology," he said.

Gov. Cecil H. Underwood awarded $3.5 million in grants from the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund. Jefferson County ranked 15th among the state's counties in the amount received with $145,464.50.

Tyler, Mineral and McDowell counties received the top amount awarded, $200,000.

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