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DCPS receives federal grant to upgrade technology

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:25 PM CST
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Daviess County Public Schools received $2 million from the federal government through its Emergency Connectivity Fund.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund is a $7.17 billion program established by the federal government to provide districts with the technology students needed to learn remotely during the pandemic.

Officials with DCPS say the fund will be used to provide elementary students with Google Chromebooks.

“We heard about two weeks ago that we were awarded this grant,” Computer Operations Manager Steve Burton said. “We officially notified the board Tuesday. We expect to have Chromebooks for our third and fourth graders right after Thanksgiving.”

Middle school and high school students all already have one-to-one technology.

Burton says the technology in the DCPS elementary schools desperately needed an upgrade.

“We do have some devices in the K-4 age range, but they’re very old devices, in some cases they’re donated devices,” Burton said. “The community really came through for us during the pandemic, back when it first started, and we were really scrambling to get anything we could in the hands of our students.”

He says the district always planned on providing all students with their own devices, but when the pandemic forced districts into online learning, the need was accelerated.

“We were certainly trending that way, but it wasn’t a one or two year project, it was a 10 year project,” he said.

Burton expects kindergarten, first and second grade students to receive their Chromebooks when they come back for the start of the spring semester.

“There is certainly some learning curve there,” Burton acknowledged. “We’ve had a lot of technology in our schools, the difference is this is the first time the littlest ones will be taking them home. There’s some apprehension there, but we have a lot of experience with our middle school and high school students taking them home.”

The district also plans to purchase several hundred additional mobile hotspots for students who do not have a reliable internet connection at home.

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