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SBC Foundation presents $136,000 in technology grants to UIS

February 1, 2005

Funding Targets GEAR UP Project to Aid Low-Income High School Students and Online Math Teacher Certification to Address Shortage

SPRINGFIELD – SBC Foundation has awarded grants totaling almost $136,000 to the University of Illinois at Springfield and partner organizations to fund technology programs for GEAR UP and the university’s Online Mathematics Teacher Certification. 

Rep. Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg), UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, SBC Illinois President Carrie Hightman, and U of I President Joseph White display SBC's check for nearly $136,000.

The UIS GEAR UP Partnership received two grants totaling $100,000 to help promote college readiness for low-income students.  A $36,000 grant will go to the UIS Office of Technology Enhanced Learning, College of Education and Human Services and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to fund online secondary education toward teaching certification in mathematics.

“SBC’s support of technology in education is premised on the belief that every child should have an opportunity to succeed,” said SBC Illinois President Carrie Hightman. “Most of the fastest growing jobs this decade will require education beyond high school.  By supporting these UIS programs, we are supporting proven efforts that will provide students with the tools they need to prepare them for lifelong success.”

The online Mathematics Teacher Certification program grant will assist in secondary education course development, computer equipment purchase and faculty development and support.

Gratefully acknowledging the support of the SBC Foundation, Larry Stonecipher, Dean of UIS’ College of Education and Human Services, said the state projects a need for 600 new math teachers this year and 650 in 2006. “Among the 900 public school districts in Illinois, 315 school superintendents report a severe shortage of math teachers,” he said. “The generosity of SBC will help us address this critical shortage.”

One of the two GEAR UP grants is aimed at enhancing teaching and learning through the use of instructional technologies at Springfield’s Lanphier High School. The second grant supports after-school and summer academic enrichment programs in math, science, reading, and technological literacy for Springfield’s Lanphier High School students.

“We are thrilled to receive these grants, because these services directly affect local students,” said Geri Marion, project coordinator for GEAR UP at UIS. “Incorporating technology into regular classroom instruction instead of treating it as a special event helps hold students’ interest, increases the students’ own skills, and allows teachers to adjust their teaching methods to suit students’ needs.”

The Springfield partnership has been active since 1999. Washington Middle School and Lanphier were initially identified as the target schools for the local GEAR UP Project due to their high percentages of students from low-income families, rising drop-out rates, lower-than-average attendance rates, and high percentages of chronic truants.

Funds from the instructional technology grant are being used for professional development opportunities, support, and resources for the mathematics teaching staff, enabling them to use a variety of instructional strategies in the classroom. 

Funds from the enrichment grant provide online evening and weekend live homework help for students through the purchase of new computers and printer and the Tutor.com program for the school. Tutor.com also is available for Lanphier students at a computer lab at the Springfield Urban League when school facilities are not open.

The GEAR UP partnership effort by the University of Illinois at Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield School District 186, and the Springfield Urban League is part of the federal GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) program.     

"Most of the fastest-growing jobs this decade will require education beyond a high school degree, and forward-thinking programs like these at UIS ensure that all students have a fair chance for continuing education and a brighter future,” said State Representative Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg), who was present at the announcement ceremony for SBC Illinois and UIS. 

GEAR UP was created and signed into law by Congress as part of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (Public Law 105-244). The program is designed to encourage low-income students in grades 6 - 12 to stay in school and to increase their access to postsecondary education by helping them become college-eligible and competitive for admission. GEAR UP currently serves 1.2 million students nationwide through more than 2,000 participating organizations and partnerships.

In 2004, the SBC Foundation provided a $5 million grant to support the GEAR UP initiative. This is the single largest private donation in support of the GEAR UP program. Education is a primary funding area for the SBC Foundation.  In 2003, the SBC Foundation provided nearly $18 million to support education initiatives across the nation.  Since 1984, SBC Communications and the SBC Foundation have contributed more than $1 billion to nonprofit organizations and affiliates across the country.         

The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) serves as the national technical assistance provider, annual conference convener and voice in Washington, D.C., for the GEAR UP program.  NCCEP, a non-profit organization committed to creating and sustaining K-16 education partnerships, works to increase academic achievement and access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students.  By building broad-based partnerships, linking schools and communities, developing new initiatives, supporting proven programs, and using research findings to create successful frameworks for action, NCCEP aims to invigorate the principle of equal educational opportunity for all, and to help improve K-16 education in the United States.  One of the primary objectives of NCCEP is to promote academic achievement and encourage education reform in schools, colleges and universities. 

The SBC Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SBC Communications Inc.  The SBC Foundation supports efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly those with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations.  SBC Foundation-backed programs are designed to increase access to information technologies, broaden technology training and professional skills development, and effectively integrate new technologies to enhance education and economic development.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Foundation Center have consistently ranked the SBC Foundation among the nation’s top five corporate foundations.  In 2002, the SBC Foundation launched SBC Excelerator, a multimillion dollar competitive grants program that funds nonprofit organizations in their efforts to digitally connect communities. 

SBC Communications Inc. is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves 49.1 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation's leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also now offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at www.sbc.com.

 

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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