CenturyLink Announces Local Winners of Foundation Grants

The Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation is pleased to announce that CenturyLink, Inc. has announced the local winners of the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation’s Teachers and Technology grant program. The program, which has been offered since 2008, awards grants to schools in CenturyLink’s local service areas on behalf of teachers who have developed specific plans to innovatively implement technology in their classrooms.

“We were excited to see the innovation and creativity in this year’s grant applications,” said Erik Genrich, CenturyLink Vice President and General Manager for the Central Florida Market.   “It’s encouraging to see teachers’ enthusiasm for bringing new learning tools and techniques into their classrooms, and we are pleased to be able to help expose students to more educational technology in their daily school lives.”

Across the country, more than 1,000 grant applications were received.  In Florida, 96 teachers applied through their school district-wide education foundation, with 25 winning schools selected by a review committee comprised of community members and a CenturyLink representative.  The winning teachers’ schools received grants to be used to purchase technology to benefit students in the classroom:

  • Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach was awarded $2,033.51 for Instant Outcomes: Efficient Formative Assessment through Technology, submitted by teacher David Dodson.  In advanced and rigorous classes, students thrive when formative assessment immediately follows their initial work. At the same time, the rigor of these classes makes it challenging to provide feedback in a rapid fashion. Classroom Response Systems offer an unparalleled opportunity to provide students with immediate feedback following formative assessment. This formative assessment directly follows instruction of the material. Two models of formative assessment will be used. In the first place, daily quizzes will be given regarding daily reading assignments. Rapid feedback in this instance will inform teacher and student as to which materials have been understood and which require remediation. Secondly, implementation of the CRS will allow "instant response" polls in classroom instruction. This faculty will allow the teacher to instantly assess student understanding regarding a specific topic, as well as ensuring continuing student engagement and reflection during classroom instruction.
  • Davidson Middle School in Crestview was awarded $5,000 for Data Driven Science, submitted by Kathy Morris, to purchase ResponseCard NX devices. ResponseCard NX is a hands-on technology system in the form of a classroom set of individual touchpads, a receiver, and computer software. This technology allows students to discretely respond to questions and topics in a variety of ways, in different classroom settings. Sixth grade science teachers at this Middle School want to put these tools in students’ hands to help them be more confident and engaged in the classroom. The handheld input device will eliminate that fear students have of saying the wrong answer out loud in front of classmates and become an integral part of improving student comprehension and progress in the classroom. This student ResponseCard technology could be a catalyst in student data collection and analysis in science and improve engagement in STEM lab activities.
  • Elliott Point Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach was awarded $4,969.26 for the Digital Current Events project submitted by teacher Denise Richardson.  Children love reading magazines-especially if they have their own issue and are using the latest and greatest technology. iPads and magazines will be used in a second grade classroom and ensure that students are able to work effectively during small groups as well as teacher and student demonstrations. The items ordered will ensure active learning in a productive environment. The use of these high interest magazines and their technological features with the iPads will allow students to meet the measurable objectives that align with new Florida Standards. With this will be many other STEM apps available for free use to students on the iPads in addition to those that come with these subscriptions. Putting iPads in the hands of children today, will better prepare them for tomorrow’s careers.
  • Okaloosa STEMM Academy in Valparaiso was awarded $4,990 for the project STEM: 3D Printing and Engineering Design, submitted by teacher Sarah Wilson.   Using Pitsco’s 3-D Printing: Explorations in Innovation/Vehicle Engineering Package will enable students to create prototype components and other parts, which is rapidly becoming a normal part of the engineering process. Students will design components of battery powered vehicles through design software on their laptops. They will then have their prototypes and parts printed using the ABS Filament 3D Printer that comes with the package. Using this equipment will expose students to the engineering process as well as the 3D Printing process that is becoming very popular in prototyping. Students at the STEMM Academy will take the course as a Research Elective, but it will cover 3D Design and Printing for one semester. Through Innovation and Vehicle Engineering, students will be able to design and build their own battery powered car. From sketch, to prototype, to actually building and running the vehicle for testing, students will work their way through the engineering design process.
  • Wright Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach was awarded $5,000 for Technology Implementation in the Primary Classrooms, submitted by teacher Shannon DeBerry Primary students are required to take a reading and math assessment on the computer. Many of our younger students have never had access to a computer. Frustration occurs when students must navigate and utilize technology in a testing situation. Many scores are not reflective of the students' ability but is based on their performance using technology they are not accustomed to. We hope to rectify this by placing technology in all K-2 classrooms. The school district has provided our school with a site license to MobyMax. This program allows students to practice mathematical and English language arts skills using a touchscreen format. The program is based on the same premises of the district mandated assessments on which the children are required to show mastery. With this grant, 60 MobyMax tablets will be purchased and utilized in all K-2 classrooms. Students will use these tablets in learning stations throughout the school day. Teachers will be trained before tablets are dispersed in the areas of best practices in classroom utilization of the MobyMax tablets. Students' progress will be monitored and adjusted in weekly teacher meetings.

About the CenturyLink Foundation

CenturyLink’s vision is to improve lives, strengthen businesses and connect communities by delivering advanced technologies and solutions with honest and personal service. CenturyLink extends this vision through the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to contributing to endeavors that improve the well-being and overall quality of life for people throughout CenturyLink’s communities. Named after CenturyLink’s founder Clarke M. Williams, the Foundation is endowed by CenturyLink to support community initiatives that encourage our employees to use their time, talents and resources to strengthen the communities in which they live and work.

About the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF)

The OPSF is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation.  It is a partnership between families, schools, community and business.  The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County.  Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards.