By STEVEN MURREY
Elwood schools will soon benefit from a $255,800 grant, corporation superintendent Dr. Joe Brown announced recently.
In late June, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the “GEER” fund – Governor’s Emergency Education Relief – which allocates more than $61 million in grants for Indiana schools to purchase student devices, upgrade teacher devices, and to install wireless access points for families who lack reliable internet access. GEER, established by the CARES Act, provides funds for 1,366 Indiana schools. Anderson Community Schools, Anderson Preparatory Academy, and Tipton Community Schools will also receive funds.
Brown says the grant will allow the purchase of new devices for students in grades kindergarten through sixth and will help with connectivity issues. Brown credited Sherri Cripe, Director of Learning, and the company Five Star Technology for writing and submitting the grant application.
“I’m super excited,” says Cripe. “It was a competitive process. When you enter into something like that, you never know how it’ll go. We know we have a need, so we wanted to see what we could do.”
Cripe says the partnership with Five Star Technology was critical, as was the requirement of community partners. Cripe says elementary school principal Bev Groover helped her obtain letters of support from Mayor Todd Jones, YMCA director Greg Beck, and Economic and Community Development Director Marcy Fry.
Cripe says that CARES act funding provided teachers with paid summer training on digital curriculums, which aided in obtaining the grant.
Cripe estimates that up to 35 percent of families lack access to reliable internet in the home. The grant will provide connectivity through hotspots to those most at risk.
Earlier this summer, the corporation purchased new Chromebooks for students in grades seven through 12.
“This grant will give us the opportunity to get new devices for all of our students at EES and EIS,” Brown said in a statement to the Call-Leader. “We’ll also use this money to help solve internet connectivity problems for families. Both of these benefits are critical during this global pandemic. Thanks to Mrs. Cripe for leading this effort and to the team that supported her in this process!”