FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The state plans to fund more than $24 million in grant requests to bring more computers into classrooms across Connecticut and increase Internet bandwidth, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced earlier this month.
The grants will provide vital support to students, teachers and school districts as efforts accelerate to complete the transition to the Common Core State Standards and the accompanying computer-based Smarter Balanced assessment tests that will be conducted.
A number of school districts in Fairfield County will receive grants, including the following:
- Danbury will receive a grant for $238,171;
- Fairfield: $167,376 grant;
- Greenwich: $90,246 grant;
- New Canaan: $80,347 grant;
- Norwalk: $152,176 grant;
- Ridgefield: $94,010 grant;
- Stamford: $551,794 grant; and
- Westport: $27,384 grant;
“I believe in the Common Core Standards and do not want to impose unfunded costs on municipalities for technology-related expenditures necessary to implement these standards, which is why we secured additional funding in response to districts’ needs and concerns,” Malloy said.
“Investments in education are an investment in stronger communities and our state’s future prosperity. Ensuring students are prepared to compete in a global economy and to excel in 21st-century careers means that we must strive to equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools they will need,” he said.
The State Department of Education received 128 applications, far exceeding the original $10 million grant allocation. That prompted an announcement to seek additional bond funding for more grants.
“Supporting a successful transition to the Common Core State Standards means ensuring that schools and classrooms are equipped with the right tools. Technology enhancements are necessary to enable students to benefit from the next generation of computerized adaptive assessments,” said Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor. "But, even more importantly, these tech improvements provide essential tools for ever more engaging teaching and learning in today’s classrooms."
The Common Core Standards was adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010, outlining a new set of higher, clearer, fewer expectations for what students should know in a given grade. Along with this new set of standards, will come new assessments aligned to the lessons being taught in math and English language arts classrooms.
Replacing the traditional paper-and-pencil-administered CMT and CAPT assessments, these new tests, the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, will be administered on computers or other computing devices. This assessment transition makes the need to purchase new computers and upgrade technology more significant for districts.
“In order to ensure a level playing field for our students, we have to make sure our districts are equipped with all the tools necessary to succeed, which necessarily entails putting more computers into our classrooms.” Connecticut Association of Schools Executive Director Karissa Niehoff said.
In 2014-15, every public school district will administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment System and the state will sunset the administration of the math and English language arts CMT and CAPT tests. Districts will, however, continue to administer the science CMT and CAPT assessments.
For a full list of the school districts receiving grants and the amounts, click here .
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