Business Grant Will Provide Middle School with More Technology Access

An Illinois middle school received a grant from a business fund to expand their access to learning resources through tablets.

by Valerie Wells, Herald & Review, Decatur, Ill. / July 20, 2015
Students in Sangamon Valley Middle School will learn with tablets in the fall. Devon Christopher Adams CC by 2.0 via Flickr cropped

(TNS) — Sangamon Valley Middle School students will have a new tool for learning in the fall, thanks to the Monsanto Fund.

The school was chosen by employees in the Illiopolis Monsanto Corn Production site for a $6,500 grant for new technology.

Principal Cody Trigg is researching the best price for iPads, with a goal of buying 30 to be kept on two carts and shared among the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.

"Last year, at the elementary school (where he was principal then), I did a fundraising campaign and solicited businesses to donate for iPads for the school," Trigg said. "I put it on the district website, in the school newsletters, and Dave (Scheffler, site manager of Monsanto) got hold of the information and gave us a nomination form to apply for the grant."

Monsanto is interested in supporting initiatives that strengthen math and science skills in students, and Scheffler knew of the middle school's strong science program, Trigg said.

Teachers already were in the habit of allowing students to bring their own devices and using them to supplement the school's two computer labs, but the 30 additional iPads will allow far more students to have access to technology daily, Trigg said. Teachers plan to use them for student research, practice in math, differentiated instruction and even virtual field trips.

"In this time of limited school funding, field trips are, sadly, an extravagance," Trigg said. "With these, we can do a Smithsonian field trip. We can go to any museum in the world, essentially."

Most of the staff members are familiar with the latest technology, and he plans training sessions to help them use the new iPads most effectively.

Scheffler said that supporting local schools is one of the Illiopolis Monsanto site's focus areas.

"We feel that staying involved in our local community and providing educational opportunities for students is essential to enhancing their learning experiences," he said. 

©2015 the Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.), distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.