Grant to help train teachers

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 25, 1999

Future teachers in Natchez and throughout the state will receive additional training in technology thanks to a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The $8.5 million grant, known as ACHIEVE Mississippi Partnership, is spearheaded by Mississippi State and Alcorn State universities. It will train 800 college students preparing to become elementary and secondary teachers.

The grant will focus on &uot;computer literacy, as well as how to incorporate the technology that is available into teaching the class,&uot; said Linda Grafton, technology coordinator for the Natchez-Adams&160;School District.

The universities will provide additional computer courses on campus.

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A number of participating public school districts, including Natchez-Adams and Franklin, Jefferson, Claiborne and Wilkinson counties will also train student teachers in technology, Grafton said.

&uot;As time goes by, we will have new teachers coming out of college with computer-skills that enhance their teaching abilities,&uot; Grafton said.

More than 300 university and community college faculty and more than 600 veteran public school teachers also will be taught to use the technology -oriented, hands-on method.

&uot;It will really mean a higher quality of teacher product,&uot; Grafton said. &uot;I was real excited that they got the grant.&uot;

Although teachers and perspective teachers already get some computer training, this program should make things more consistent.

&uot;This goes across the board to say every teacher will have these skills,&uot; Grafton said.

The funding will also provide $1.7 million to participating district to upgrade their instructional technology.

The program will begin this upcoming semester.

The nearby school districts have already met once with Alcorn State University to discuss the program. They will meet again Jan. 13.