June 27, 2017 04:31 PM

Make your case and your school could get a $30,000 tech boost from the Pugh Family Foundation.


The foundation has just confirmed that it is funding $30,000 worth of technology for Lafayette Parish schools through its Technology Challenge Grants for Educators.

The competitive grant program, which will be administered by Lafayette Education Foundation, is open to all public, private, parochial and charter schools from pre-K - 12 in Lafayette Parish.

“We have one of the largest private school enrollment levels in the U.S. here in Lafayette, so every school here plays a part in community health and addressing issues,” says Todd Mouton, executive director at the foundation. “The idea was to just source the best projects from the community of educators. The Pugh Family Foundation has a real interest in supporting the best ideas out there and then sharing them.”

According to LEF Executive Director Etienna Wright, educators who have an “innovative and creative” plan for using technology in the classroom, library or school in its entirety should apply.

“We want teachers to just really tell us why their students and how their students can benefit from specific technology and why they are seeking funds from outside the school to provide these opportunities to their students,” says Wright.

Mouton says the idea is more about the next steps or pieces that are not in the school’s current budget.

“What would be the next thing a teacher or librarian might want to do? Teachers may be hearing about different programs or pieces of equipment that they really want to try out, but sometimes they’re expensive,” continues Mouton. “This could be like a pilot or a little bit of a laboratory project. It’s something emerging.”

Computers, laptops, 3-D printers, tablets, hardware, software, subscriptions to educational resources and e-readers are examples of technology that educators may apply for.

Wright says the amount of funds that are allocated per classroom or school depends on the applications received.

“It could be any number of schools, depending on the quality of the applications we receive,” she says. “The sky’s the limit.”

The applications are anonymous, making the grant program “100 percent merit-based” and “as honest a process as possible,” according to Wright.

“It is anonymous because Lafayette Parish, as big as it is, it still kind of has a small town feel,” notes Wright. “So it’s very hard to find panelists to sit on a review panel who don’t have some type of connection to schools or teachers.”

The applications will be measured by a weighted scale. The criteria is as follows: academic outcomes (the goals of the project and how the results will be measured), 30 percent; creativity and innovation (how the project supports educational concepts, processes and techniques that are not yet fully utilized in the current environment), 25 percent; cost effectiveness (what the cost per student and long-term cost of the project is), 15 percent; potential for replication (how easily the project can be reproduced by another educator),10 percent; administrative capacity (how qualified the project director is to administer the project), 10 percent; and follows current standards, best practices, International Society for Technology in Education/Lafayette Parish School System standards and aligns with long-range goals, 10 percent.

Mouton says the Pugh Family Foundation has done this process twice in the past, but is now trying to broaden it.

“It’s possible that funded projects might get showcased in the future at conferences or get shared with other educators at other schools,” says Mouton. “We want all the good ideas we can get. The idea is that if a school comes up with project that can be grown, expanded or adapted to other settings, that’s something we’re interested in doing. We’re casting the net as wide as possible.”

The deadline to apply is Monday, July 17. After the deadline, the Pugh Family Foundation along with LEF will review the applications to choose finalists. The finalists will then create a presentation on how they plan to use the technology at their school. Finalists will present on July 31, and the winner(s) will be announced by Aug. 2.

The entire process is completely online. To apply, go to lefoundation.org. For questions, call LEF Programs Director Jillian Dickerson at (337) 234-3229.

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