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COVID-19 relief grant will enhance technology and remote learning for local students

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Crook County School District received a $450,000 grant from Facebook.

Funding for public schools is projected to take a big hit across the state due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent COVID-19 relief grant of $450,000 from Facebook to Crook County School District (CCSD) was announced on Wednesday, May 6, and could not come at a better time.

"A big thank you to Facebook for the incredible $450,000 grant donation to CCSD," said Dr. Sara Johnson, CCSD superintendent. "We are just amazed and appreciative."

Despite the challenges of the current pandemic crisis, the Crook County School District sees an opportunity to be creative and innovative as the new Learning @ Home model is driving CCSD to utilize technology in new ways to serve local students through the end of this school year and beyond.

"Technology is rapidly changing the way we provide education at all grade levels, and we need to prepare for the future," said Johnson. "This grant from Facebook allows us to make significant investments in new tools so we can serve both students inside the traditional classroom and our families who might want to choose online learning long term."

Director of School Improvement for CCSD Joel Hoff indicated that they would use the funds for a number of technology tools to enhance learning. The district will invest in more Chromebooks for students and iPads for younger students; robotics kits so students can take those home and continue their learning from home; software to help students learn from home; Wi-Fi access for students; invest in Career & Technical Education programs and video equipment so teachers can record lessons and share them with students at home.

"We are honored to partner with Crook County School District to support students and families in Prineville during the COVID-19 pandemic," said William Marks, community development regional manager for Facebook. "We understand that the situation presents new challenges for both students and educators; however, we hope that this partnership will help students continue their education and learning remotely."

The grant, which supported the purchase of 255 laptops for CCSD in March, will help with technology improvements that will allow CCSD to respond to what school leaders are calling the "new normal" even after the virus has dissipated.

"Technology makes it possible for a more robust educational experience that serves the needs of all families in Crook County, and this district is committed to be being an innovative leader in the way we deliver education," said CCSD School Board Chair Scott Cooper.

Facebook's grant allows a personalized approach to distance education because students engaged in Learning @ Home can still meet with local teachers, access buildings and computers, and enjoy other programs like music, arts, and sports. CCSD also plans to grow its alternative education options starting this fall.

"A big thank you for the grant, and also a heartfelt thank you to the Crook County Education Foundation for serving as the agency to get the money from Facebook and pass it on to the district," concluded Johnson in a recent video on the district's Facebook website. "We are so grateful for the community, for the parents, for the children and for our partners in Crook County."

Facebook has been part of the Prineville community since breaking ground on their Prineville data center in 2010.

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For more information, visit www.facebook.com/PrinevilleDataCenter/.

You can also visit the Crook County School District Facebook page to watch the video announcement:

https://www.facebook.com/278029105590803/videos/3650360044991055/


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