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 â€œLearning On-The-Goâ€ wireless pilot program implemented by the Federal Communications Commission.Â 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 districtâ€™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).
â€œKaty 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,â€ says Lenny Schad, chief information officer for Katy ISD.Â â€œWe 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.â€
Katy ISDâ€™s MLD program started at Cimarron Elementary during the 2009-10 academic year, and expanded to 10 additional elementary campuses in 2010-11.Â As part of the program, students are issued a Smartphone for the academic year â€“ with disabled phone and texting capabilities.Â In November 2010, Katy voters passed a Bond Referendum that included $35.5 million for technology retrofits and infrastructure improvements throughout the district.Â 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.
â€œBy 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,â€ adds Schad. â€œTherefore, 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.â€
The E-rate grant will be awarded over the next three years.Â Katy ISD plans to utilize the funds in MLD roll-outs beginning in 2011-12.
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