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Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU Foundation Receives Grant from AT&T Foundation for Title I Teachers

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation will announce receipt of a $50,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation, the philanthropy arm of AT&T, in support of an educational technology initiative that will benefit the entire region, today at 4 p.m. in Sugden Hall, Room 111 at Herbert J. Sugden Hall.

"The AT&T Foundation is pleased to fund the tuition of five teachers from Title I schools pursuing advanced degrees in Educational Technology. FGCU will teach the two-year master's program for these students in a cohort manner, which we believe will encourage shared knowledge and teamwork between their districts and schools for the ultimate benefit of all area school children," said Andrew Hall, AT&T external affairs director.

"There are 33 Title I schools within the five counties in southwest Florida. Language barriers, the education level of parents, and high absentee rates due to the migrant status of many families, make the traditional delivery of age-appropriate learning difficult. Pulling students out of the regular classroom to receive separate instructional services has had negative consequences, including exasperating the students' loss of esteem by being labeled 'different,' the loss in time and lack of coherence with the regular curriculum, and the lack of communication between teachers."

FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw said, "Using technology as a tool to enrich teaching within the classroom and to extend meaningful educational experiences beyond those walls can significantly increase learning opportunities, particularly helpful to 'at risk' students in academic peril. This initiative blazes a path to higher education for these students. We are extremely grateful to AT&T Foundation for their support of this important and timely initiative."

According to Pat Riley, executive director of The Alliance of Educational Leaders - the regional council of superintendents and college presidents, "The superintendents of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee School Districts serve a combined 175,000 students and share the need for increased technological expertise to support the continuously growing virtual learning opportunities in and among the five counties that comprise southwest Florida and the University's catchment area. To partner with Florida Gulf Coast University and AT&T to build and strengthen capacity is a welcomed and appreciated opportunity."

AT&T Foundation's grant will create a home-grown, region-wide team of experts in educational technology who personally have Title I experience. The Title I teachers to be selected will know their classroom students and their challenges, the strengths and unique characteristics of their Title I schools and districts, and they will be committed to their communities and to the education profession. Preference will be given to teachers who are bilingual in English/Spanish or English/Haitian Creole.

Marci Greene, dean of FGCU's College of Education said, "FGCU will prepare these five teachers to better link their students, schools and districts with the Florida Virtual School; identify multiple new uses of technology in Limited English Proficient (LEP) student learning, such as building websites in the native language of parents of LEP students to help them help their children; extend technology to extracurricular activities, after-school cultural and recreational activities and community service, creating meaningful educational experiences beyond the classroom; incorporate the use of technology in early intervention programs; identify particular technology programs that engage and stimulate at risk student with meaningful, authentic tasks that concentrate on developing skills in problem solving and advanced thinking; and assist in the professional development of other teachers incorporating technology into their curricula."

For further information, contact Greene at (239) 590-7781.

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