Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Grant Awards Ripley County Schools $250,000

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 5:00 AM

By Ripley County Community Foundation, news release

The funding received will be used to provide network connectivity to students located in low-income households and/or living in rural areas where internet access is limited.

(Ripley County, Ind.) - On behalf of Ripley County Schools, Genesis: Pathways to Success is proud to announce that $250,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Grant has been awarded to the Batesville Community School Corporation, Jac-Cen-Del Community School Corporation, Milan Community School Corporation, Oldenburg Academy, South Ripley Community School Corporation, and St. Louis Catholic School.

The Indiana Department of Education disclosed in June that funding would be available to support local educational agencies and institutions of higher education to develop and improve the availability of remote learning, such as supplying students with internet access or technology equipment. Seen as an ideal opportunity, the Superintendents and Principals of Ripley County Schools chose to collaborate and apply for funding that could grant students with home internet access.

Cheryll Obendorf, Director of Genesis: Pathways to Success, was asked to team up with the schools and assist with writing the GEER Grant. “Genesis has been honored to support the schools in Ripley County for over twelve years,” Cheryll stated. She also noted, “This opportunity was a way to further support education in Ripley County, which aligns with the mission of Genesis by bringing students closer to educational experiences through virtual learning.”

The funding received will be used to provide network connectivity to students located in low-income households and/or living in rural areas where internet access is limited. The GEER Grant will give students with unreliable internet access the network connectivity needed to ensure that they won’t fall behind in their studies during distance or remote learning.

Ryan Middleton, Superintendent of Jac-Cen-Del Community School Corporation, said, “Receiving this grant took many minds working together throughout Ripley County to ensure that our community is equipped, technologically, for internet connectivity. With having been forced into a situation where schools closed without notice, our faculty and students were immediately on the forefront of our thoughts. We collectively decided that internet connectivity was our focus and we set out to make Ripley County accessible to the web.”

“We have a strong history of collaboration with our Ripley County neighbors, and South Ripley looks forward to using these grant dollars to help improve internet access in the short term, while we await additional efforts at the state and federal level to ensure that high speed internet access becomes widely available in our rural communities,” noted Rob Moorhead, Superintendent of South Ripley School Corporation.

Paul Ketcham, Superintendent of Batesville Community School Corporation said, “Batesville Community School Corporation (BCSC) appreciates the support and collaborative spirit of Genesis Pathways to Success. Connectivity to reliable broadband is an issue for some of our school families. The securing of a grant from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund is fantastic news. BCSC will now have the capability of providing access to quality WiFi to those specific families who need it."

The Assistant Principal of Oldenburg Academy, Jonathon Maple, expressed, “We are thrilled to partner with Ripley County Schools to expand internet connectivity, through the utilization of hotspot devices, to students who do not have internet access at home. Network connectivity will allow students of Oldenburg Academy to continue developing and enhancing their 21st Century Skills while both on and off campus.”

Jane Rogers, Superintendent of Milan Community School Corporation, stated, “I am pleased that Milan is once again a part of a collaboration among the Ripley County Schools, along with Genesis, to support the success of our students. The additional hotspots we will provide through the GEER grant funds will benefit our students. We realize hot spots are a good resource for our families until all geographic parts of our school districts have the ability to connect to providers for highly reliable internet.”

“While it was a collaborative effort of the administrators and principals from Batesville, Oldenburg Academy, St. Louis, Milan, South Ripley and Jac-Cen-Del, I would like to thank both Cheryll Obendorf of Genesis Pathways to Success and Jane Rogers, Superintendent of Milan Community Schools, for their efforts in overseeing the grant writing and submission process," stated Patty Mauer, Principal of St. Louis Catholic School.

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