Cowlitz foundation grant will bring equity to La Center school technology

Rick Banana /

A $ 90,000 grant through the Kaulitz Native American Organization will provide laptops and monitors to teachers in the school district of La Center.

Late last month, the LCSD announced it had received a grant through the Clark County Fund Kaulitz Foundation. The foundation is an extension of the tribe and has representations from the tribe, Clark County Government and nonprofits. This year, the district announced that for the first time it has received a grant that will bring more technology to help teachers both in the classroom and beyond.

The need for technological improvement of the district became clear after the construction and opening this year of the district high school. The new school has a number of technological improvements, so modernization is needed in primary and secondary schools, said District Director of Teaching and Learning Michelle O’Neill.

Because the La Centre School Board approved a local voting fee that had the same rate as the current one in the books, the county needed to find another source of funding for the upgrade. That’s when the Kaulitz Tribal Fund came along, which the district identified as a good partner to fund those improvements, O’Neill said.

The district has identified a number of priorities for the grant. Mobile laptops for teachers are a top priority to help students in the classroom, O’Neill said. Laptops will also come in handy when distance learning is required, and they will also help with professional development.

“This means that when they come to training, they have this laptop, they can better access technology at the moment,” O’Neill said.

The grant will also fund computer monitors in the classroom, making it easier to teach.

Although it has not yet been approved by the school board, O’Neill said the county has also requested a microphone and speakers for the classroom to help students and teachers hear each other. However, the rising cost of these systems may be too high.

O’Neill said the area’s technological resources are limited. Improvements in high school have been funded by voter-approved bonds, while other schools have to rely on what comes from the state and what is approved locally through regular fees.

“So it will definitely lead us to a place where we can have all the teachers working in the same place as far as technology is in their room to serve the students,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said the organization can apply for one grant per calendar year and can request funding for up to three years. She thanked the foundation for approving the district grant, which is part of the millions that the foundation annually allocates for similar initiatives, the district said in a statement.

“They were very generous and definitely focused on the students and learning of our community,” O’Neill said. “We are very grateful to be able to take advantage of this and bring our technology up to standard.”

O’Neill said the grant would enable teachers and students in area schools to be more equitable.

“We want all of our students, regardless of circumstances and their abilities, to have access to learning,” O’Neill said. “For that to happen, we want to make sure our educators have the technology they need.”

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