Tate County is one of the first school districts in the state to receive computers ordered through the Mississippi Connects digital learning plan.
The computers arrived Friday, Oct. 2, and officials from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) visited the Tate County School District central office in Coldwater to congratulate administrators.
The initial batch of computers was delivered to schools in Tate County and West Point.
“We greatly appreciate the support, initiative, and foresight from our legislators and school board in assuring the funding needed to provide this unprecedented learning opportunity to the students in the Tate County School District,” said Superintendent Alee’ Dixon.
A statement from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) said other districts that placed orders through MDE’s bulk purchasing system should begin receiving computers for their students and teachers throughout October and early November. Individual districts have procedures in place for distribution of the computers, according to MDE.
Dixon said her district received 1,188 Chromebooks and 190 Apple MacBooks that will be handed out at each school in order to ensure every student and teacher receives a device.
The Mississippi Legislature allocated $200 million for Mississippi Connects through two laws, the Equity in Distance Learning Act and the Mississippi Pandemic Response Broadband Availability Act. The goal is for every student to receive the technology needed to learn at school and at home. A statement from MDE said these tools would enable students to continue making academic progress.
Districts placed orders to purchase 320,000 computer devices through Mississippi Connects. An additional 70,000 devices were ordered outside of the program.
The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) approved the process to distribute $50 million to districts through House Bill 1788, which provides grants to Mississippi school districts, independent schools and Native American tribal schools to expand broadband access in areas of the state that lack service.
Funds were allocated to districts based on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data of homes without broadband access and the districts’ population of students receiving free or reduced lunch.
“We are thrilled how quickly our Mississippi Connects plan is able to get computer devices into the hands of students and teachers to facilitate learning,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Mississippi’s coordinated strategy to purchase devices in bulk on behalf of districts has pushed our students to the front of the line.”