OTTUMWA — What does a classroom look like after school leaders get a check for a million dollars? Ottumwans are about to find out.
"Our vision with this gift is to see a lot more access for students," said Ottumwa schools Superintendent Davis Eidahl. "We can immediately start purchasing twice the amount of what we'd budgeted for our K-12 classrooms."
Earlier this week, the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation announced a donation of more than $1.3 million. The money will come over the course of three years.
"You'll also start to see more student use, less teacher use of technology," said Eidahl on Tuesday. "Our teachers have done a great job of learning how to use computer applications, an interactive board, a projector. But we want this [type] of technology in the hands of our students more often than our teachers."
When the Legacy Foundation's Brad Little and Tom Lazio gave the district the check on behalf of their board, they sounded most proud of the work they and the district had done to ensure this grant means something, that this proposal, developed over 18 months, makes a lasting change.
Little, CEO of the foundation, has frequently stated that the purpose of the trust has very little to do with randomly throwing money at community problems. Eidahl, too, said the money is great but the partnerships being developed in the region may be even more exciting. The Legacy Foundation, John Deere, the Area Education Agency and other organizations will continue to work with the district to make sure it is taking the correct steps to move along the path to its goal.
"The foundation and our other partners want to ensure we reach our vision, a quality education for each and every student," Eidahl said. "Our approach to technology is through the lens of instruction. So while developing our vision over [the course of about a year], we focused on how to integrate technology through a rigorous curriculum and quality instruction. Our approach is to use technology as one of many tools, to deepen that learning of the Iowa core curriculum."