SUPERNet consortium at UT Health Center at Tyler receives $241,000 grant to support ’virtual school’

Friday, July 22, 2005

The SUPERNet consortium has received a $241,000 grant from the Texas Education Agency that will be used to fund the “virtual school” during the 2005-2006 school year.

SUPERNet is a technology consortium that links school districts all over East Texas. The virtual school provides online access, on demand, to high school courses. The headquarters of SUPERNet is located on The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler campus.

This is the third year SUPERNet has received TARGET funding. TARGET stands for Technology Applications Readiness Grant for Empowering Texas. Sixteen of the 17 SUPERNet school districts now receive TARGET funding.

“This grant has allowed SUPERNet school districts to upgrade their distance learning equipment. With these funds, we have been able to provide technology training to teachers,” said Rhonda Turner, SUPERNet director. During this past year, more than 400 teachers participated in activities funded by the TARGET grant, she said.

“One key component of this grant is that teachers have access to Microsoft Class Server, enabling them to create lessons and share them with teachers in other districts. The other important factor has been the expansion of our virtual school, which allows students across East Texas to take high school courses online for credit. With access to the virtual school, students gain flexibility in scheduling classes and are able to enroll in the classes they need to graduate,” Turner said.

The purpose of TARGET funding is to ensure that every elementary student is technologically literate by the time he or she finishes the eighth grade. It is designed to improve the academic achievements of elementary and secondary students by making sure they have access to appropriate technology. TARGET funds also may be used to help integrate technology resources and systems with teacher training.

The 17 school districts that make up SUPERNet are Arp Independent School District, Big Sandy ISD, Carlisle ISD, Chapel Hill ISD, Hallsville ISD, Hawkins ISD, Henderson ISD, Jacksonville ISD, Lindale ISD, New Summerfield ISD, Tyler ISD, Union Grove ISD, Van ISD, Whitehouse ISD, White Oak ISD, Winnsboro ISD, and Winona ISD. Tyler ISD has its own TARGET grant.

For information about SUPERNet and its member districts, visit its Web site at www.sprnet.org.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.