Four school districts awarded federal funds for distance learning | Education

Fall Mountain, Claremont, Unity, and the Newport school districts were awarded close to $1 million in federal funds to deploy a synched up distance learning program in the districts.

The award was announced late last week as the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program made public millions in similar grants throughout the country.

“Because of COVID and the need to learn remotely, our districts recognized the importance of distance learning and the challenges we faced,” said Fall Mountain Superintendent Lorraine Landry in a joint statement with Claremont and Unity’s Superintendent Michael Tempesta and Newports’s Brendan Minnihan.

According to the USDA, the money will allow the schools to share instructional resources, provide cultural literacy and career pathways programs for students, and provide professional development opportunities.

The funding will also help expand the number of courses offered, enable resource sharing through carrier technical centers, and provide access to special education and therapeutic services.

The more than $42 million total in USDA grants were focusing on supporting remote learning, and telemedicine as more people have relied on remote resources during the pandemic.

“With health care and education increasingly moving to online platforms, the time is now to make historic investments in rural America to improve quality of life for decades to come,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement on the awards.