The Ottumwa Courier

Education

May 13, 2013

Foundation's gift will change Ottumwa classrooms

OTTUMWA — It would take an investment annually until the year 2020 to get all the computers and training the Ottumwa school district wants. A gift just cut that wait in half.

Monday, the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation announced during a joint press conference with the school district that they were gifting the district with $1.3 million. The money will come over the course of three years.

"It probably moves our timeline from six years to reach our [technology goals] to three years," Superintendent Davis Eidahl told the Courier after the announcement. "But this isn't just about buying a million [dollars worth of] computers."

That's one of the points the Ottumwa Legacy Foundation board said they liked about the proposal from the district. That initiative, said board member Tom Lazio, was well thought out and designed to support itself. He told the Ottumwa school board, his own board and others at the Ottumwa High School library that there's no use having expensive computers that aren't running properly. So having a technician on staff, one of the initiatives listed, makes sense to Lazio.

The foundation's president and CEO, Brad Little, said staff needs to know how to operate the equipment. He joked that teachers needed to be almost as good at using the technology as the kids — there's a common statement by educators revealing children really do come to school knowing a lot about how to use a computer, sometimes more than the adults around them.

Little said there'd be training for the teachers, and the school district lists a plan to hire full-time "technology coaches" to help train teachers in the use of state-of-the-art technology.

"As a foundation, we are excited about the grant," said Little. "It's not just about the kids, it includes the teachers."

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