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USDA awards $1 million for distanced learning

The School District of Lake Holcombe, in collaboration with CESA 10’s Distance Learning Service, has been awarded a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Distance Learning (DLT) grant, for their 2020 Distance Learning Project – Achieving Wisconsin Equity (AWE).

The grant award of $1 million will combine with $150,150 in school districts’ cash match, to invest more than $1.15 million in distance learning endpoints and infrastructure for Lake Holcombe, along with 38 additional school districts in rural Wisconsin.

The funds will serve to fund two primary purposes, with the school district video conferencing equipment seeing an update, expanding educational opportunities, and improving endpoint reliability and security. Second, CESA 10’s video conferencing backbone and infrastructure will be replaced with the most current technologies, improving reliability, security and service to their member districts.

AWE will address three needs in rural Wisconsin school districts: a lack of educational opportunities for students, a lack of trained teachers, and a prevalence of substance use and mental health disorders, and the subsequent lack of access to education and treatment.

As such, AWE will leverage existing, well-established partnerships between CESA 10, school districts, institutions of higher education,and mental health care providers, while also expanding connections to local county health departments and law enforcement. The outcomes of AWE will impact more than 10,000 high school students and 2,100 4K-12 teachers in the region.

For more than 20 years, CESA 10’s Distance Learning Service has supported the connections and collaborations of their rural Wisconsin consortium member school districts, to educate students. In the 2019-20 school year, the service supported more than 2,800 student enrollments in distance learning courses.