ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Education announced more than $21.5 million in digital learning grants to 55 school districts around the state on Tuesday.
"The grants are intended to help districts shore up their digital/distance learning infrastructure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic," a release said. "Districts’ plans for the funds include purchasing digital devices (laptops, Chromebooks, or tablets) for students and teachers, providing training for teachers on distance learning, purchasing distance learning software, and installing mobile hotspots on buses or providing MiFi hotspots to students."
The funds were described as federal school improvement funds. Any district with schools classified as needing "Comprehensive Support & Improvement" or "Targeted Support & Improvement" were eligible to receive funds.
“The ‘digital divide’ in Georgia is not a new issue, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more apparent,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a release. “School districts have done incredible work during the COVID-19 school closures and have been hard-working, creative, and thoughtful with the resources they have. But there is still a need for better digital learning infrastructure within our state, particularly in rural and underserved communities. These funds will help districts strengthen their digital learning capacity, extend summer learning opportunities, and ensure no student is left unconnected.”
According to the release, school districts can use the funds until Sept. 30, 2021.
Here is what Atlanta area districts received. For a full statewide list, see here or the bottom of the page.
- Atlanta Public Schools: $2.2 million for "equitable access to devices in identified schools." (Those schools are available in the document at the bottom of the page.)
- Clayton County: $2.3 million "to support the district's need to provide its most vulnerable schools with equitable access to tools and resources to successfully implement digital learning."
- DeKalb County: $3.8 million "to supply Chromebooks and hot spots with additional technological resources needed for students to participate in virtual learning from home, as well as extend learning opportunities into the summer."
- Fulton County: $1 million "to provide Wi-Fi mobile hotspot devices to access ClassLink, iReady Instruction, and other other online educational content such as Microsoft Teams and Edgenuity. Chromebooks will be provided to an alternative school for seniors to access their APEX coursework."
- Gwinnett County: $380,000 for "four alternative schools to provide additional devices for students and teachers. In addition, funds have been requested for software to provide digital learning opportunities both during the school year and summer, as well as professional development to support teachers in the delivery of quality digital learning."