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High-tech equipment grant awarded to Dallas County Schools

The Dallas County Board of Education recently received notice that the system will have an additional $50,000 to spend on its distance-learning program.

Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie informed the board of the grant recently.

State superintendent Joe Morton informed McKenzie of the grant and said the funds are to be used to purchase tablet computers, an interactive whiteboard and other technological instruments needed to fulfill the county’s aim to be an ACCESS 21st Century System.

McKenzie said d the funds would be used this year at Southside High School.

“We will buy the necessary equipment and computers to complete the learning lab at Southside,” she said.

This grant is not a new thing for the system. Last year, McKenzie said the system received $85,000 for a computer-learning lab at Keith High School.

“We will be able to do much with this additional grant money,” she said.

Alabama’s distance learning initiative, ACCESS allows students to share resources statewide.

Unlike virtual school initiatives that attempt to replace brick and mortar schools, ACCESS builds on the state’s existing real world education system.

The ACCESS program places state of the art interactive video conferencing equipment in participating schools, enabling students to connect with teachers around the state

It also offers Internet courses.

Students use table computers to take notes, share their thoughts and work with other students, all from the comfort of Dallas County’s schools.

The system was named a pilot school last year, so for the program to expand excites McKenzie.

“We’re really looking forward to getting started with the program this year,” she said.