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The school districts of Osage County announce the approval of a countywide elementary school technology integration grant by the W.S. & E.C. Jones Trust. The grant will provide technology resources for primary and elementary level students in Burlingame, Lyndon, Marais des Cygnes Valley, Osage City and Santa Fe Trail schools.

“This is a great opportunity for the students of Osage County to receive cutting edge technology that wouldn’t normally be affordable to the local school districts,” said USD 421 Superintendent Brian Spencer.

The $500,000 is set to be used to purchase iPads and associated equipment for student use, and will be distributed based on the enrollment of each school. Santa Fe Trail, which has 39 percent of the county’s enrolled students, will received $195,000; Osage City (24 percent) will receive $120,000; Lyndon (16 percent) will receive $80,000; Burlingame (11 percent) will receive $55,000; and Marais des Cygnes Valley (10 percent) will receive $50,000.

The Jones Trust grant requires a local match. The local portion is defined as increased infrastructure to handle the wireless demands of the iPads, and professional in-service to train the teachers to effectively use the technology to improve student instruction and learning. This amount will vary within each district depending upon the current wireless connectivity in each building and the size of the teaching staff.

The timeline for implementation of the grant includes the ordering of iPads for the teachers and beginning infrastructure upgrades in the fall of 2012; professional development for teachers to prepare for full implementation in the 2013-14 school year in the spring of 2013; and implementation in all elementary and primary classrooms throughout the county in the fall of 2013.

Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, Greenbush, located in Girard, is working with the districts to purchase the machines, choose appropriate applications for instruction, and provide the professional development. Lyndon USD 421 is serving as the fiscal agent for the grant.

“The Osage County schools are very fortunate to have received this generous grant from Jones Trust,” said USD 420 Superintendent Troy Hutton. “This technology will greatly impact the education of every elementary student in the county.”

County school districts are continuing work with the W.S. & E.C. Jones Trust to grow the project to the middle and high schools in the 2014-15 school year.

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