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Columbia middle school receives nearly $200,000 from stimulus grant

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:15 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 5, 2009

COLUMBIA — Smithton Middle School in Columbia has been awarded $199,989 in stimulus money through a competitive grant administered by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The money was among the $4 million in grant funding announced by Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday. The money will help 14 Missouri school districts fund technology in the classroom and expand technology-based teaching methods. 

In Columbia, the money will be used to purchase about 260 netbook computers, said Kerry Townsend, a library media specialist at Smithton Middle School.

The budget per computer is $500, which would include the hardware, a warranty and software. The netbooks would fill 10 classrooms and turn them into computer labs. Townsend said the price of the computers will determine how many they buy. They hope to have them by September.

Money will also go toward buying laptops for teachers and toward stipends for teachers who are training outside of contract hours. The training program is designed to help teachers in the schools learn how to teach using new technology.

Columbia Public Schools Board President Jan Mees said the district was proactive when seeking the grant this spring.

"It's always wonderful to have extra resources available to help our students and teachers advance in their curricular and learning objectives," she said.

Mees said the grant's main authors were Townsend and Julie Nichols, Manager of Instructional Technology for Columbia schools. Mees said the application had to contain information about student needs and whether the grant could be properly implemented.

"Technology is simply a tool to help teachers implement curriculum," Townsend said. "Our hope is that it will help students learn more efficiently and implement our curriculum."

In a news release, Nixon said the education technology grants allow Missouri to invest "even more greatly" in schools and allow more children "to make use of 21st century technology in the classroom."


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Comments

David Townsend August 5, 2009 | 10:15 a.m.

This is a great thing for our schools! It is great to see the hard work of the staff paying off. There has been a lot of negative news about CPS and articles like this show that the CPS educators go above and beyond for the children of Columbia.

(Report Comment)
CPS_Parent August 5, 2009 | 12:47 p.m.

I'm sorry, but I strongly disagree. This is good for one school and one school only. The rest of the schools, including the other two middle schools, are left to hang with the 6-7 year old computers that they are trying to use. What a complete waste.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 5, 2009 | 2:07 p.m.

CPS_Parent says: The rest of the schools, including the other two middle schools, are left to hang with the 6-7 year old computers.

Helpful hint: Just maximize out the ram or memory they will hold and those age of computers will be fine. The school district might need to format and reinstall the operating systems but a 6 - 7 year old computer is still a dam good working computer for school. You do not need the up to this date of computer to learn on. Fact.

(Report Comment)
Erin Olson August 5, 2009 | 2:46 p.m.

I have a 6 year old computer and it works just fine. They are middle schoolers, not rocket scientists.

$4 million for "technology in the classroom"--$5 says our tax dollars are funding at-school Facebooking.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 5, 2009 | 5:07 p.m.

That's 4 million for the computer salesmen.
Four million for state-wide entry level teacher salaries or a teacher incentive bonus program would have been more meaningful.
Schools don't need to be on the cutting edge of brand spanking new computer technology. Besides, it also puts a strain on the parents at home when their children also insist on having one in their bedroom as well.
This is good for the computer industry. Not needed for the schools that all ready have computers.
The money could have also been funneled out to the local school board to be used where the boards felt it was most needed. Sounds to me that Obama has his eye on the tech industry now that he helped out auto dealers. What's next, government controlled internet? No surpise, it helped him get voted in.

(Report Comment)

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