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The City Journals

Local Schools Receive Grants for Technology Education

Feb 08, 2017 03:51PM ● By Jana Klopsch

LiveDAYBREAK presented a Chromebook cart to Eastlake Elementary’s second grade team. (Tanner Gooch/LiveDAYBREAK)

By Julie Slama

This year, students in three area schools have access to more technology, thanks to LiveDAYBREAK.

As an opportunity to provide educational opportunities and support the community, LiveDAYBREAK, a nonprofit organization set up by the Daybreak community developer, reached out to local schools to see how they could best support students, said Director Dan Rodgerson.

“Three schools responded with the need for technology,” he said.  “We gave each school’s proposal about $5,000 to purchase the equipment they requested.”

This included Chromebooks for Eastlake Elementary and American Academy of Innovation and 3-D virtual reality program for Daybreak Elementary.

Eastlake Assistant Principal Suzie Williams said they applied for the grant in October and learned one month later that they were approved for 30 Chromebooks, which will be used in second grade.

“We use i-Ready (a Common Core website), so every student spends 45 minutes reading and doing math on the program,” Williams said. “Research has showed that just by doing that, they have a year’s growth. These Chromebooks, along with teacher instruction, will give students a great opportunity to learn.  We’re very appreciative and grateful that LiveDAYBREAK wants to help these kids.”

American Academy of Innovation Director Scott Jones said that the 36 Chromebooks and cart his school purchased came in part from the LiveDAYBREAK grant and part from sixth-graders holding an Italian fundraising dinner to raise additional funds.

“There’s just not enough money for technology so the sixth-graders took this on, to organize, set up, market and decorate the dinner as both a learning opportunity and a fundraiser,” he said. 

Sixth-graders, attending the new science, technology, engineering and math charter school that plans to serve 420 sixth- through 12th-graders next year when it reaches full capacity, will use the Chromebooks for research projects.  They also can access their textbooks electronically with the Chromebooks, Jones said.

“Right now, they are creating their own interstellar travel agency and researching how they’d travel to different planets, the costs and fuel involved and how they’d market their concepts.  Then, they’ll use a spreadsheet to develop their budget and create a web design, all which they will do on the Chromebooks,” he said.

Jones said that LiveDAYBREAK officials attended the school’s grand opening, wanting to help students.

“Technology is a tool that is great in the classroom and can help with communication, creativity, productivity, innovative ways to find solutions,” he said.  

Daybreak Elementary Principal Doree Strauss said that with LiveDAYBREAK’s grant, the school purchased zSpace, a 3D virtual reality program that fifth- and sixth-graders are using in their science and social studies classes.

“The student puts on the goggles that are connected to a computer, and they learn a lot more in-depth on a subject such as being part of a heart surgery or frog dissection.  It brings the areas they’re learning to life and it’s more fun for the students to engage and learn.  We are so appreciative that we can offer students this program,” she said.

Both Strauss and Rodgerson have put on the zSpace glasses.

“It’s pretty spectacular,” Rodgerson said.  “You get immersed in what you’re watching, whether it’s taking off in a space shuttle or being part of an operation. Students are gaining an understanding at a level that they haven’t had. It’s amazing, the opportunities there are for students.”

Rodgerson said LiveDAYBREAK also supports students and their families through different events such as fun runs and carnivals.  

“Any home that sells in Daybreak, a portion of that money goes into a pot that we use to support lifelong learning, supporting the arts, providing healthy living events and other activities that are pillars in the community,” he said.

LiveDAYBREAK focuses its events, activities, and programs around five values: connecting, lifelong learning, embracing arts and diversity, healthy living and giving back to the community.