Schools get grants for computers

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 22, 2000

A technology grant will benefit second and third-graders in the Natchez-Adams School District and three private schools.

Linda Grafton, technology director for the Natchez-Adams School&160;District, said the $150,000 grant will fund computers for classrooms and training for teachers at McLaurin Elementary, Holy Family Catholic School, Cathedral School and Trinity Episcopal Day School.

&uot;It’s really exciting to me, because I know what a difference technology makes in classrooms,&uot; Grafton said, about the grant.

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District officials learned they received the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund grant this week. It is a federal grant distributed by the Mississippi Department of Education.

This is the second time the district applied for the grant but the first time it received it, Grafton said.

Catherine Cook, elementary principal at Cathedral School, had not heard about the grant Friday, but she said it would be wonderful for her school. &uot;That would certainly work well into our technology plan,&uot; she said.

Each kindergarten to eighth-grade class at Cathedral has at least one computer in each class, Cook said.

The students mostly use the computers in the school’s accelerated reader program, but with more computers students will be able to use them for other tasks, she said.

The school’s goal is to place four computers in each room, Cook said.

The Natchez-Adams School&160;District also has at least one computer per classroom.

But some of those are older models and classrooms will benefit from having the newer machines, Grafton said.

District officials are still waiting for more details on the funding.

They had requested close to $200,000 with plans to buy Microsoft Office software and 56 computers — two more per classroom at McLaurin. And the district will use a large part of the money to train teachers such as through online classes, Grafton said. The training will help them earn their recertification &uot;while working on something that’s really going to impact their classroom,&uot; Grafton said.

The guidelines of the grant required districts to use the money to focus on reading and technology for students in kindergarten to sixth-grade. Grafton said the Natchez-Adams School District wrote the grant for second and third-graders to improve students’ reading skills before they take state testing in the upper elementary grades.

And the district focused on McLaurin Elementary, instead of Morgantown, because Morgantown was named a Barksdale School this year through another grant program, the Barksdale Reading Institute.

Morgantown Elementary and Frazier Primary received $209,930.86 through Barksdale, which is part of $100 million donated this year by two native Mississippians, former Netscape chief James Barksdale and wife, Sally, to improve reading programs at 20 elementary schools across the state.