JEFFERSON PARISH, LA - January 25, 2007 - Cisco Systems announced today that it has expanded the number of schools in Jefferson Parish participating in its 21st Century Schools (21S) Program from eight to sixteen. The goal of the 21S Program - made possible by a $40 million commitment from Cisco - is to revamp underperforming schools impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by implementing new technologies, online curriculum materials and professional development.
The eight new schools include:
East Bank: Ella Dolhonde Elementary, Harahan Elementary, Riverdale High, Riverdale Middle
West Bank: Allen Ellender Middle, Congetta Trippe Janet Elementary, Helen Cox High, Ella C. Pittman Elementary
"The goal of the 21S Program is to move education forward and surpass long-held standards for student achievement and productivity," said Bill Fowler, executive director of the 21S Program. "By helping teachers apply the latest educational technologies, we're helping them to better prepare their students for the competitive job markets of today and tomorrow."
The 21S program launched in 33 Mississippi schools in October 2005. Today, students and teachers in these schools are integrating interactive white boards, student response systems, wireless laptops, digital cameras and other technologies into their lessons. These tools create fun and relevant work for students and can improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
Models developed in Mississippi are being used to guide the program's implementation in Louisiana. Already in Louisiana, eight Jefferson Parish schools -- selected for the 21S Program in March 2006 - are nearing completion of a comprehensive planning process to determine the technology and training that meets their needs. Installations of the new technologies will begin in 2007.
The eight new schools selected for 21S will utilize the strategic roadmaps being developed by the first eight Jefferson Parish schools to develop their own comprehensive plans. Ultimately, all schools in Jefferson Parish will benefit from the new programs and technologies focused on:
- Academic Excellence - Improving student achievement through varied instruction and increased student engagement
- Administrative Efficiency - Providing teachers with remote access to their Student Information System and tools to make assessments more efficient
- 21st Century Skills - Teaching technical know-how and the integration of technology in the classroom as well as expanding teacher knowledge sharing via new programs
- Parent & Community Involvement - Allowing students and parents to access homework information, grades and attendance and correspond with teachers online
Connecting the Community - Bringing Computers Home
As part of its continued work to engage the community in the 21S program, Cisco has also teamed with One Economy, a national non-profit, to create the "Connected Families" program. This program will provide low-cost, convenient purchasing options for parents and guardians of children in 21S schools to acquire a home computer. Connected Families is available to two Jefferson Parish school communities - Vic A. Pitre Elementary and T.H. Harris Middle School.
Parents and guardians interested in acquiring a computer have the option to purchase either a new computer or a lower-cost refurbished computer for their home. All participants are required to complete two hours of basic computer training, where they'll also learn about on-line resources like One Economy's Beehive web site. Beehive sites are local information web portals that list resources for jobs, health, money and family. The Connected Families program will be expanded to all 21S schools in Mississippi and Louisiana over the next several years.