Harrisburg, Pa., Mayor Stephen R. Reed today announced that students at the John Harris and William Penn campuses of Harrisburg High School will now benefit from a new program that is transforming their classrooms from the traditional textbook, chalk, and blackboard experience to one that utilizes computers, the Internet, and enhanced technology.

Reed said the Harrisburg High School campuses are two of the first 358 schools across Pennsylvania that are creating Classrooms for the Future in order to increase student achievement and success by providing state-of-the-art equipment and enhanced teacher development.

Classrooms for the Future is an initiative implemented by Governor Edward G. Rendell which is designed to put a laptop computer on every high school English, Math, Science and Social Studies desk and to provide teachers with a multimedia workstation and intensive training to enhance education. The Harrisburg School District applied for and received a $500,000.00 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) in order to implement this program.

"We are constantly seeking ways to better prepare city students for success, not only in the classroom, but in every aspect of their lives," said Mayor Reed. "Since 2003, students at the SciTech High School have been a model for one-to-one computing in the Harrisburg School District. Now, due to the district's successful application for the highly-competitive Classrooms for the Future grant, students at the John Harris and William Penn ACTS and CTA campuses of Harrisburg High School will also benefit from these state-of-the-art technologies and 21st century learning and teaching methods. This access will enable students to increase their current rate of achievement and will provide them additional resources and skills with which to build upon while pursuing a college degree or a high-tech job."

In the current school year alone, more than 700 high school students in Harrisburg will benefit from this program, Reed said.

"We cannot prepare the 'Technology Generation' to be the innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs of the 21st century using chalk and blackboards," said Governor Rendell when announcing this statewide program. "Classrooms for the Future will not only help boost achievement while students are still in high school, but also help prepare them for success in college and beyond, especially in fields that require advanced skills with computers and technology."

In addition to laptops, each classroom will be equipped with a Smartboard and a projector, Web cams, and other video equipment. Through this innovative program, teachers and students also have access to imaging software.

"The schools selected for the first year of Classrooms for the Future will serve as a model for hundreds of schools we intend to fund through this program over the next three years," said Rendell.

"In order to prepare our students to compete effectively in the global marketplace, we must transform how they learn and how teachers teach," added Mayor Reed.

"The implementation of the Classrooms for the Future program can only enhance the tremendous progress that has been made. We are grateful to Governor Rendell and to Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak for including us in the first year of this groundbreaking initiative."

The Classrooms for the Future grant program will provide $200 million over the next three years to school districts throughout the Commonwealth in order to create "smart" classrooms, with additional monies provided for professional development within each school district. Professional development will include in-class modeling, face-to-face workshops, online courses for teachers, and leadership training.

For more information on the Classrooms for the Future grant program, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website at www.pde.state.pa.us.