Laptops For Everyone

Remember when Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn proposed that one to one laptop initiative a couple of years ago? 

Well, as you'll see below, a version of the initiative -- a seven-district pilot -- is up and off the ground. 

Don't miss out. 

Technology Immersion Pilot Project announced
School districts encouraged to apply for grants

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. The Illinois State Board of Education announced today, along with Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, an innovative technology program now available for eligible schools.

ISBE and the Lt. Governors office have worked in concert to implement this pilot project for the 2006-2007 school year the Technology Immersion Pilot Project, which will be in seven school districts throughout Illinois.

The pilot program is designed to promote the integration of technology into teaching and learning through the provision of wireless laptop computers, related software, hardware, staff development, technical support, and other instructional materials to students, teachers and relevant administrators in participating districts.

The legislation is designed to establish this three year program which was passed in 2004 but did not receive an appropriation until Fiscal Year 2007. The Fiscal Year 2008 and 2009 funding is contingent on a sufficient annual appropriation from the General Assembly. If funding is available, then the program will be extended one year at a time contingent upon the program making satisfactory progress in the preceding year.

The Illinois State Board of Education will issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) in July to select the school districts that will participate in the project. According to legislation, the districts must include the City of Chicago Public School District 299; three school districts chosen from the region comprising that portion of Cook County that is located outside of Chicago and the counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will; and three districts in the remainder of the state. 

Within the seven school districts to be chosen, ISBE will fund at least nine schools (three in Chicago and one each in the other six school districts).   

Eligible applicants include school districts, public university laboratory schools approved by the Illinois State Board of Education, charter schools, area vocational centers and any public school operated by an agency of the State of Illinois that:

         serve students in and configuration of grades 6 through 8;
         have State-approved technology plans;
         and either
o        have one or more schools in Academic Early Warning or Academic Watch status; or
o        serve a significant percentage of students whose identified needs would make the use of technology devices more necessary or effective in their education than is the case for the student population as a whole.
The eligible applicants for this competitive grant program, the application process, and the criteria for ranking eligible proposals are all described in emergency rules of the Illinois State Board of Education (23 Ill. Adm. Code 365, Technology Immersion Pilot Project) which took effect on June 26, 2006. 
These emergency rules will be in effect for a maximum of 150 days.  During that time, regular rulemaking on the same subject will be completed and can remain in effect as long as needed.  Those proposed rules, which are identical to the emergency rules, have been posted on ISBEs web site,, and comments may be submitted through August 21, 2006, as indicated in that posting.
Interested school districts must submit an intent to apply document to ISBE upon their decision to apply for this program. Directions for this document will be in the RFP. 
If they want to submit a RFP, applicants are also required to attend a free grant-writing workshop, that is open to the public, on the core concepts of this teaching methodology.  These grant-writing workshops will be offered in both Chicago and Springfield. 
Chicago:  1-4:30 p.m. July 25 at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Conference room C at Student Center West, 828 S. Wolcott.  Parking is one block away at Wood and Taylor for minimal fee. 
Springfield: 9-12:30 p.m. July 26 at the University of Illinois at Springfield in the Public Affairs Building, Conference Room C/D.  Free parking is located in Lot C across the street. 

Seating is limited for the workshops.  Please RSVP for the workshops by contacting Dan Persky from the Lt. Governors office at 312-814-5220.  The Office of Lt. Governor Pat Quinn should also be contacted if there are any questions about the workshops.

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