JSU is one of the 25 highest-rated applicants in a list of potential grantees that includes Columbia University’s Teachers College, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Education, which will award the grant. The Investing in Innovation grant program is designed to fund new programs in education. Through the grant program, the Education Department will divide $135 million among the top 25 applicants who are able to secure a 10 percent match by a private donor by December.
If JSU receives the grant, its portion is expected to be roughly $12 million, said Alicia Simmons, director of the JSU’s Office of Planning and Research. She said the money would be used to expand its Collaborative Regional Education Academy, an education program designed to help teachers understand how to use new technology in elementary, middle and high school classrooms.
“We don’t expect any problems at all,” Simmons said.
Through the academy, JSU has begun training teachers across the region how to use laptops, smartphones and tablet computers with new teaching techniques.
In the spring the academy partnered with the computer maker Apple to offer professional development to teachers from more than a dozen Alabama school systems during a workshop at JSU. During the event, educators heard from speakers and worked in groups to teach each other new practices.
With the federal funding, JSU would teach other regional universities how to do the same work, school officials said. It would also measure the program’s effectiveness and offer more professional development to teachers.
“It is an opportunity for JSU to really lead the way in how regional universities connect with pre-K through 12 school systems,” Simmons said. “We can learn from each other.”
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.