Weakley Receives Distance Learning Grant

Weakley Among Three Counties Receiving USDA Distance Learning Grant
Posted on 11/21/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Weakley Among Three Counties Receiving USDA Distance Learning GrantDyer, Lake and Weakley County School Boards are receiving nearly a half a million dollars to improve distance learning opportunities for their students.

This week the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announced the distribution of $42.5 million in 133 distance learning and telemedicine projects in 37 states and two U.S. territories. Weakley County Schools will share in a portion of the $497,252 allocated to the Dyer County, Lake and Weakley Boards of Education after they submitted a joint request.

The investment will enable implementation of Distance Learning programs for a total of 16 schools in 10 communities and will serve 6,519 students and 422 teachers. Applicants eligible for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants included most state and local governmental entities, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses. The monies will be distributed to universities, state agencies, hospital and health systems as well as school districts.

Randy Frazier, Weakley County Schools director, noted that Dyer, Lake and Weakley Counties will primarily use the additional funding to purchase new and refurbish existing equipment.

“Distance learning has allowed us to offer dual credit courses, online classes and share teachers from one community to another,” he explained. “Our hope is to use these new funds to install an additional distance learning lab in each high school.”

Currently, Weakley schools have dual enrollment agreements with the University of Tennessee at Martin and the Selmer campus, Jackson State and Bethel University. College algebra, English composition, physics and history are among the courses county students have had access to due to distance learning.

With the equipment, local teachers and visiting professors can be present at one school and simultaneously engage with a second school in live presentations that allow for similar interactions for those in both classrooms.

“After refurbishing what we have and installing new equipment, we will be looking for additional courses to offer from our existing partners and ways to expand opportunities to share our excellent teachers across the county,” Frazier added.

USDA is providing the funding through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program.