PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Funding for public schools across Oregon is likely to take a major hit due to the looming COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why Facebook’s generous relief grant of $450,000, announced Wednesday, comes at a perfect time, the Crook County School District said.
Despite the challenges of the current crisis, the school district said it 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,” explained Superintendent Dr. Sara 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.”
William Marks, Facebook's community development regional manager, said, “We are honored to partner with Crook County School District to support students and families in Prineville during the COVID-19 pandemic."
"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,” Marks said.
The grant, which supported the purchase of 255 laptops in March, will buy more Chromebooks, iPads, licenses for online curriculum, video technology in the classroom, Wi-Fi access, and invest in Career & Technical Education programs.
Technology improvements will allow CCSD to respond to what school leaders are calling the “new normal” even after the virus is behind us.
School Board Chair Scott Cooper said, “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.”
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 plans to grow its alternative education options, starting this fall.
Facebook has been part of the Prineville community since breaking ground on their data center in 2010. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/PrinevilleDataCenter/.