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The Voice of the Black Community


Notebooks, training go to Project LIFT
Computers going to low-income campuses
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 3:18 pm
by Herbert L. White

More than 2,000 elementary school students in the Project LIFT zone will take delivery of notebook computers on Feb. 26.

Project LIFT Zone Superintendent Denise Watts

One Laptop per Child Association will provide the laptops for students in the first through fourth grades as part of the organization’s largest U.S. effort to date – with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The machines will be presented at Druid Hills Academy, 2801 Lucena St.

"We are pleased to be working with the Knight Foundation and Project LIFT in this bold endeavor,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, chairman and CEO of One Laptop per Child. “We believe that partnering with foundations, the private sector and the public sector is an excellent model that can be replicated across the country."

The computers are integral to Project LIFT, a $55 million, community-oriented campaign to improve academic achievement in 11 northwest Charlotte schools. The program's goal is to have 90 percent of the zone's elementary students perform on grade level, achieve more than one year of academic growth per grade, and improve the graduation rate at West Charlotte High School. Project LIFT has offered notebook computers at a discount to families and provided free broadband access for a year.

“Our technology pillar has become complete with One Laptop per Child,” said Project LIFT Zone Superintendent Denise Watts. “These strategies will no doubt introduce 21st century technology to our students and help bridge the technology gap,” said Watts.

The OLPC XO computers, which are designed for primary school students, are part of Knight Foundation’s $4 million investment in Project LIFT, which is also providing at-school training on how to use the machines. One Laptop facilitators have worked with teachers since August to develop lesson plans and the computers are equipped with tools that allow students to learn in real time or work together.

Middle school students have also been trained as technicians called the "Green Team" to troubleshoot and correct issues on the computers without sending them off for repairs.

“Access to the Internet and digital skills are vital for success in today’s connected world, we hope these devices can give the students a jump start to learning and living digitally,” said Susan Patterson, Charlotte program director of the Knight Foundation.


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