Aug. 19, 2020 — In August, Siuslaw School District Business Manager and first-grade teacher Shannon Graham announced that the school district received a generous grant from First Book, CDW-G, Intel and Lego.
“Siuslaw School District was one of only 45 school districts in the United States to be chosen to receive this incredibly generous grant,” the two announced in an official press release.
A recent survey found that 40 percent of children do not have reliable internet and almost 40 percent are without access to functioning devices.
The closure of schools in March exacerbated an existing crisis in education for children in poverty, millions of whom do not have access to enable virtual learning. These children are isolated without educational support and are falling further behind.
To help address the widening digital divide, education and technology companies came together to announce a first of its kind grant: Creating Learning Connections (CLC) grant. The grant aims to provide a holistic learning experience to students in the U.S., most notably those impacted by COVID-19.
“We are so excited to announce our district was awarded 350 fully configured Chromebooks and 20 sets of LEGO Education learning solutions, which teach students STEAM concepts with LEGO bricks, and a $4,000 stipend to help subsidize the cost of the internet for families we serve,” Blake and Graham stated.
The 20 new Lego Solutions kits will provide the district with the ability to send kits home for all kids enrolled in Siuslaw Middle School’s Lego Robotics program. The students will be able to participate in STEAM education through comprehensive distance learning.
“We feel that this is an incredible gift to the students and families in our school district, which is also how we are able to ensure that every single student in our district will have access to a Chromebook to help make distance learning online more attainable for all,” the two said.
As part of the CLC grant, underserved families in 17 states will receive support, with nearly 15,000 devices and 7,500 LEGO Education solutions being delivered to 45 School Districts.
“This grant illustrates the critical need for, but also the power of teaching with, technology and hands-on solutions to engage and inspire students wherever and however they are learning. It’s never been more important to provide as many students as possible with playful learning opportunities that can help build their confidence and ultimately inspire a lifelong love of learning,” said Esben Stærk, president of LEGO Education. “We look forward to seeing all that these well-deserving teachers and students are able to achieve with the resources provided through this program. From making a mistake and trying again, to overcoming challenging circumstances, kids teach us the important lesson that with creativity and resilience, you can always rebuild, thrive, and succeed.”
Learn more about the CLC initiative at www.firstbook.org/creatinglearningconnections.