//J.L. Lomax, recipient of GA DOE digital learning grant

J.L. Lomax, recipient of GA DOE digital learning grant

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The Georgia Department of Education is awarding digital learning grants totaling $21,578,236 to 55 school districts. The grants are intended to help districts shore up their digital/distance learning infrastructure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

J.L. Lomax Elementary School is the recipient of $127,800.00 from this grant.  

“Our technology grant is designed to help close the achievement gap that was increased by the closing of the schools due to COVID-19. Students in grades 3-5 will be taught standards during a Saturday virtual school for at least 4 hours each month in Reading/ELA and in math,” said J.L. Lomax principal, Dr. Tret Witherspoon.

“Students will check out  Chromebooks on a Friday and have live lessons online with their teacher via Google Classroom and Istation. Students will be continuously monitored for progress. There will be an orientation for students and parents prior to start of Saturday Virtual School and Chromebooks being issued,” said Witherspoon.

Across the state of Georgia, 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 grants are federal school improvement funds, and all districts with schools identified for Comprehensive Support & Improvement (CSI) or Targeted Support & Improvement (TSI) were eligible to apply.

“As we continue to fight COVID-19, I am grateful for the thousands of educators across our state who have adapted to continue providing a world-class education to Georgia students,” Governor Brian Kemp said. “These grants will provide much-needed support as they continue to navigate changing educational landscapes, and I want Georgia’s educators and students to know that they have our complete support in these challenging times.”

“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. “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.”

Districts can use their digital learning funds from now through September 30, 2021.

Other Efforts to Expand Digital Access
The Georgia Foundation for Public Education (GFPE) is working with corporate and philanthropic partners to raise funds and create partnerships to get devices into students’ hands. To participate in this effort, visit GFPE.org/invest.

School districts will also receive substantial allocations of funds through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. GaDOE will specifically recommend that districts use a portion of their CARES Act funding to ensure they have a plan in place for any future distance learning needs.