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N-CCS receives $49,000 Digital Learning grant to showcase Blended and Personalized Learning

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Dec. 14, 2017

N-CCS receives $49,000 Digital Learning grant to showcase

Blended and Personalized Learning

North Carolina’s efforts to advance digital-age teaching and learning in the state’s public schools are getting a boost from a new grant initiative aimed at supporting local districts in the development and dissemination of innovative models for digital learning — and Newton-Conover City Schools is one of those districts.

Under an initial round of grants approved by the State Board of Education last week, 30 school districts and one charter school will share about $1.38 million targeted to better harness technology for instruction and student learning.  Newton-Conover was one of ten districts awarded a showcase grant to be used for showcasing Blended and Personalized Learning on the regional and state level.

The Digital Learning Initiative grants, most awarded at the maximum of $50,000 each, will be used by districts this school year for planning or showcasing promising approaches to digital teaching and learning. Of the 31 grantees, 21 are designated for planning and 10 for showcase purposes. The grants were selected from a total of 61 applications.

Newton-Conover’s grant will be focused on scaling up the Personalized Learning initiative at Shuford across the state in the following ways:

  • Developing Virtual Classrooms to allow live streaming of classroom instruction, with large TVs
  • Scaling up the Blended Learning Day to invite teachers, leaders, and Blended Learning Coaches
  • Provide contracted professional development on Blended and Personalized Learning
  • Develop an Aurasma virtual tour to showcase Blended Learning at Shuford
  • Develop a resource repository of Personalized Learning materials for teachers across the state
  • Present a Showcase of our Blended Learning initiative at NCTIES

“We know teachers will always be the most important part of students learning in school, and now technology can help educators personalize learning while reducing burdens,” said Mark Johnson, state superintendent of public instruction. “We were pleased with the quality of the applications we received and look forward to seeing the projects in action.”

In addition to personalized learning, the work of each grantee will focus on supporting the state’s digital learning competencies for educators and other initiatives such as micro-credentialing and digital literacies. Many of the approved grants focus on providing resources for professional development, seen as a critical foundation supporting the adoption of effective approaches to digital learning the state’s schools.

The grants will help fund a number of different approaches designed to promote digital learning. One district will use its grant to establish a plan for developing digital learning teams in all of its schools and to provide extensive professional development to teacher-leaders in middle and high schools. Another district will use an annual event focusing on robotics and engineering as a professional development opportunity for educators from across the state. Other districts will host conferences, at least one of which will include classroom visits highlighting model practices for personalized learning.

The grant initiative was authorized in 2016 by the General Assembly as part of a collaboration between the State Board of Education and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at N.C. State University to advance the state’s Digital Learning Plan. The goal of that plan is to develop a long-term strategy that sets directions and priorities, supports innovation, and provides resources to enable educators and students to benefit fully from digital-age teaching and learning.

Go here for a list of grantees, and for more information about Digital Learning Initiative Grants, visit


About James Frye

James Frye (@mrjamesfrye) serves as Instructional Technology Facilitator and Public Information Officer for Newton-Conover City Schools. Formerly, he was an English and Journalism Teacher at Newton-Conover High School and a Blended/Virtual English Teacher. He is a NC Teaching Fellow and studied education abroad at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal in Germany. James holds a Post-Masters Certificate in Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in English/Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law with The University of Kentucky. In addition to modeling technological and leadership innovation and leading various professional learning, Jamie also serves statewide on the NC Digital Learning Initiative Advisory Board/Home Base Design Team, the NC Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Board of Directors, the #NCed Leadership Team, and is co-founder of Edcamp WNC. He is a member of the NC Digital Leadership Coaches’ Network, and was named an international Emerging Leader by ASCD in 2015. He resides in Hickory with his wife and their baby girl.

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