School Board Chairwoman Becki Couch and Superintendent Nikolai Vitti announced today that Duval County Public Schools will invest $58 million in upgrading district technology and data systems thanks to private investment and $50 million from the federal Qualified Zone Academy Bond program. The initiative will substantially improve student, teacher and parent access to technology throughout the district.
"Receiving QZAB II funding allows us to provide the type of technological education that our students and parents demand," Vitti said in a district release. "As technology continues to advance throughout the world and economy, it is important that we provide our students and teachers with the tools to compete in today's educational landscape. We have taken a tremendous step forward in modernizing our educational system for all students, regardless of school performance or a student's zip code."
This is the district's second success in accessing QZAB funding, which requires 10% local match and is only offered to three zones in Florida based on their designation as an "Empowerment Zone." The local match dollars for the second award came from the Quality Education for All Fund ($5 million), EMTC Inc. ($2.5 million) and Collaborative Solutions ($.5 million).
The new funding will provide:
- High density wireless in all DCPS schools
- A new Microsoft developed portal data system for parents, students, teachers and community partners
- One to one, or two to one devices for all middle schools district-wide and for all Duval Transformation schools
- Teacher interactive bundle (interactive whiteboards, document camera, audio, clickers) for all middle school teachers and core teachers in the transformation schools
- A new laptop for all teachers district-wide
You can see a full outline of the investments by downloading this PDF.
The original QZAB funding included wireless at 41 schools as well as the one to one devices and teacher packages.
"This $50 million investment will revolutionize what is happening in our schools on a day to day basis and makes our schools competitive with the best private schools," Vitti said.
Landon Middle School Principal Sarah Bravo commented, "Technology doesn't replace good teaching - it enhances it."
Cheryl Grymes, "This is about partnership and making our dreams for our students come true. This is the transformational moment we've been planning for for a long time."
-- Pam Paul