Tucked away in the Ozark Mountains, in one of Arkansas’ most rural areas, is a small town of only 1,000 people. Cotter, Ark., has an underserved school district of just 300 students, more than a third of whom qualify for federal free or reduced-cost lunch programs.
However, the Cotter School District’s challenges are not stopping them from finding ways to make leading-edge technology available to students and teachers. The Cotter School District is a recipient of a $50,000 Verizon Innovative Learning School (VILS) program grant, and Cotter Junior/Senior High School has been designated a VILS.
“We hope to not only improve our students’ technology skills but also their sense of accomplishment,” said Amanda Britt, principal at Cotter High School. “This grant enables us to implement more intensive, focused teaching strategies that will ultimately help our students communicate more effectively with each other and the larger community.”
Cotter Junior/Senior High School is the first school in Arkansas, and one of only 24 schools across the country, to become a 2013 VILS. Selected schools receive a grant from Verizon grant to help extend the use of mobile technology in the classroom.
A Verizon Foundation program, in partnership with the International Society for Technology Education, provides educators with intensive training and mentorship that will prepare them to facilitate, model, integrate and apply existing mobile technologies to support digital-age STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning and impact student achievement.
The program helps schools use technology to prepare students for success in the 21st century. It leverages mobile technology, award-winning free digital content and teacher training for schools and organizations, all focused on increasing student interest and achievement in STEM.
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, along with David Russell, vice president of External Affairs for Verizon, presented Cotter School District officials with the $50,000 check during a recent ceremony at the State Capitol. Improving STEM learning in the state has been a priority for the Governor’s administration.