Struggling schools to get state help for technology improvements - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Struggling schools to get state help for technology improvements

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

Schools that are struggling academically are now eligible to get state help to purchase tablets for students. It's an effort to help underperforming schools do better.

A plan approved last year by the General Assembly allows high schools that are "accredited with warning" to apply for a state-funded grant to purchase tablets for ninth graders.

"Young people use this technology. We need to use it too," said NBC12 education specialist Dr. Bill Bosher.

Accredited with warning means SOL test results were not high enough to receive state accreditation status.

"Virginia is searching for ways to address low performing schools. Petersburg has been the most obvious as a school division, but there are schools all across the state, and this is another effort to try and infuse instructional techniques that might lift their performance."

It's called the e-learning back pack initiative. The state pays $400 toward one tablet per incoming 9th grader for the next four years. Schools would have to contribute about $80 per student.

Dr. Bosher say this effort is the wave of the future.

"There are some wonderful applications now, using digital equipment. Young people know how to do this, and so we are really catching up with them, and the idea is that if we can deliver positive instruction through digital application, it might be a win win for everybody."

There are several schools in the Richmond area that are eligible for the state funding, but so far, none have applied. According to the state Department of Education, they still have until June to apply.

"The school divisions that have low-performing schools should be looking at every type of support, every type of assistance, including digital applications and including funding from the state they can get," said Dr. Bosher.

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