We received this note from the Milford Public Schools:
MILFORD — The Milford Public School district learned it had been named a recipient of a $230,000 technology grant from the State of Connecticut. The announcement was made at the joint convention of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) in Groton last week. Milford is one of 126 communities across the state that will share in the more than $24 million made available for technology improvement. The primary use for the funding is to bring more computers into classrooms and to increase Internet bandwidth in school districts. According to a press release distributed by Governor Dannel Malloy’s office, this investment will “provide vital support to students, teachers, and school districts as local efforts accelerate to complete the transition to the Common Core State Standards and the accompanying computer-based Smarter Balanced assessments.”
This fall, the Common Core State Standards were implemented in the Milford Public Schools in two content areas: English language arts and mathematics. The district has recently held workshops to help the community learn about Common Core Standards and their implications for student learning. A new assessment, called Smarter Balanced (SBAC), will be administered in 2015 with a Field Test being administered this spring. The SBAC will replace the familiar CMT/CAPT tests. The new test requires all students in Grades 3-8 and in Grade 11 to take the exam on a computer. In Milford, much of the $230K will be used to bolster the existing computer availability throughout the district.
David Becker St. Germain, Supervisor of Media and Instructional Technology Services for the district, was delighted to hear the good news last week. “This windfall will greatly help the district, especially with the upcoming SBAC testing in the spring,” St. Germain commented. “We were at a point in the district where our students needed to have more access to technology – and with the added expectations of the SBAC assessment – this grant could not have come at a better time.”
When the grant application process was opened in July, St. Germain sought out the assistance of Louis Giancola, Garrett Clark, and Jeff Cibulas, all Info Systems employees for the district, to help prepare the application. Assistant Superintendent Michael Cummings also assisted the team.
The proposal centered on the purchase of 10 new laptop carts, with each cart containing 30 laptop computers. The goal is to have these new laptop carts individually housed within the school buildings throughout the majority of the year. That students will have greater access to computers will enhance their learning. When it is time to administer the SBAC testing, however, all of the carts can then be deployed to the school that is conducting the testing. When that school is finished with its testing, the carts can then be deployed to another testing location. The testing window has been set for March-May 2014.
In addition to the purchase of computers, the grant will help strengthen the wireless needs in each building, in anticipation of increased wireless load that will occur during the SBAC testing cycle.
Assistant Supt. Michael Cummings was pleased to hear the Milford proposal had been approved. “Here in Milford, we have been working hard to stay ‘ahead of the curve’ when it comes to the Common Core and the eventual Smarter Balanced testing that will be coming. We have invested significant resources over the past several years in improving and adding to the technology we have in our district — but there’s much more to do. This grant will greatly help us meet those needs.”