Giving Makes a Difference
Giving can make a big difference in expanding learning opportunities for students in Shorewood Schools. The Shorewood SEED (Supporters of Excellence in Education Development) Foundation has helped raise over $200,000 annually to help fund projects, grants, and other various monetary needs of the Shorewood School District since 2003.
Atwater & Lake Bluff Mobile Computer Labs
In 2013, SEED contributed $38,340 towards the purchase of new mobile computer labs at Lake Bluff and Atwater elementary schools. These labs consist of two new mobile MacBook computer carts, enabling teachers to bring laptops directly into the classroom. District Technology Coordinator, Connie Jaeger, was responsible for composing and submitting the proposal.
1.) What inspired you to write the SEED grant?
I knew that we had a need to replace/upgrade the mobile carts at the elementary schools and we did not have the money in the district budget to cover the cost. The majority of technology budget for the 2013-14 school year was earmarked to replace infrastructure equipment. I was able to budget money for one cart, but we had a need at both buildings. This was a perfect opportunity to work in partnership with the foundation. Working with the committee, the district funded $30,000 with SEED contributing $38,000.
2.) How did you determine that the clearest needs for these technology resources were at the elementary schools?
We knew that we had a need at all four buildings, but the student-to-technology ratio at the elementary school was very low, plus the existing two carts at the elementary school were nearing end of life functionality. We knew that there would be an increased demand on technology with the increase of online testing. Purchasing the carts allowed us to increase the use of the stationary computer labs for testing, while continuing to support curriculum goals with the mobile labs.
3.) How has the SEED grant impacted the elementary classrooms thus far?
The carts are in constant use, primarily supporting curriculum initiatives at the upper elementary grades. We were also able to keep the older iMac carts functional for lower technology needs such as keyboarding and word processing.
4.) How have additional resources expanded students' learning experiences?
Students have used mobile labs for online collaborative writing, practicing typing skills, and collaborating with peers and teachers by sharing drafts on Google Docs. The carts will also be used for upcoming research projects in social studies and science. All in all, they've alleviated a huge bottleneck in access to computers, and it's much easier for lower elementary grades to get access to them.
5.) Were you optimistic that your grant proposal was going to be chosen for fulfillment?
I was optimistic because of the wonderful relationship the SEED committee has with the district and specifically the curriculum director Dr. Tabia Nicholas. The district has been working closely with the SEED committee to continually upgrade the SEED application process and require applicants to coordinate grant requests with specific district curriculum and technology needs.
6.) Why do you think philanthropy is important for Shorewood Schools?
With the increased demands on the technology budget to support enhanced infrastructure, provide support for online testing, as well as the increased demand for technology support for curriculum initiatives, the technology budget is stretched to the limits. Over the past 3 years with the constraints on budgets, the district has maintained a constant allocation to the technology budget. We have only been able to meet the need for growth in technology access through the support of the SEED grants. With the ongoing support from SEED, PTO and other parent organizations, we have been able to maintain a robust infrastructure while steadily meeting the needs for increased access to technology.
Wednesday November, 19, 2014 at 11:00PM
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