|Jan 15, 2013 --
The Choctaw Tribal School District had one distance learning classroom with decades-old equipment that was almost nonfunctional. The schools required videoconferencing units in each building to meet the 21st Century needs of students in order to allow the district to keep the knowledge base current and relevant. Exposure to new and exciting material is necessary across the district and can only improve the academic achievement of Native American students.
The ability to deliver certified content to each school is critically important to the Choctaw Tribal Schools. While there were numerous certified teachers, some deficits existed. A particular need was Pre-algebra and Algebra at the outlying campuses. While they did have a math teacher, she was not certified to teach high school algebra. Another important need was the instruction of English as a Second Language. The schools also required the ability to share cultural studies across the district, and distance learning technology helped them access Choctaw cultural activities to help preserve native language skills.
How Rural Development Helped
In 2010, Choctaw Tribal Schools received a Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) award. They obtained a grant totaling $274,191. The schools planned to use this funding to purchase interactive videoconferencing equipment.
Choctaw Tribal Schools have been able to use videoconferencing to deliver classes from the high school to students who have been placed in alternative school. This has allowed these students to receive improved instruction, therefore allowing them to achieve at higher levels of success. Eighth graders at three outlying schools participated in a Franklin Covey leadership training segment using the interactive video equipment. The school’s technology team also experienced an A+ certification class thanks to the new equipment with East Central Community College. Our Kindergarten through 2nd grade teachers are utilizing the technology too for their Common Core assessment training.
With the new interactive video equipment for the Choctaw Tribal Schools as a result of the DLT grant, the district plans on incorporating even more programming into the curriculum. Already, over 50% of the 2,100 students that attend these schools have received access to new services because of the technology.
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