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Katy Texas News
Posted March 11, 2011

Katy ISD is one of only 20 districts in the country, and the only district in Texas, to be named a recipient of an E-rate grant as part of the 2011 “Learning On-The-Go” wireless pilot program implemented by the Federal Communications Commission.  Schools and districts across the country had an opportunity to apply for their share of more than $9.5 million in grant monies earlier this year.

Though Katy ISD does not yet know exactly how much of the $9.5 million they will receive, the grant application was submitted to help sustain the district’s Mobile Learning Device (MLD) program for fifth grade students at 11 elementary campuses; or to expand the MLD program to fifth grade students district-wide (32 elementary campuses).

“Katy ISD is now two years into the MLD program and, since its inception, we have seen significant improvements in benchmark testing scores, and student engagement,” says Lenny Schad, chief information officer for Katy ISD.  “We definitely see a positive impact on student learning at the 11 campuses and this grant will allow Katy ISD to sustain and possibly expand the MLD program.”

Katy ISD’s MLD program started at Cimarron Elementary during the 2009-10 academic year, and expanded to 10 additional elementary campuses in 2010-11.  As part of the program, students are issued a Smartphone for the academic year – with disabled phone and texting capabilities.  In November 2010, Katy voters passed a Bond Referendum that included $35.5 million for technology retrofits and infrastructure improvements throughout the district.  Approximately $2 million of the $35 million is allocated to campus improvements such as technology changes in math and science, web tools, and the continued expansion of mobile learning technologies.

“By law, E-rate funds cannot be used to purchase MLD devices, or for the purchase any other technology items outside of specific programs outlined in the grant application,” adds Schad. “Therefore, a small portion of bond funds set aside for technology will still be used to purchase the MLD devices, with the E-rate grant being used for monthly data costs.”

The E-rate grant will be awarded over the next three years.  Katy ISD plans to utilize the funds in MLD roll-outs beginning in 2011-12.

Please mention you found this on www.KatyMagazine.com.

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