Lesley University Receives $50,000 From the Verizon Foundation to Expand Online Standards-Based Professional Development for Teachers

The Verizon Foundation has awarded $50,000 to Lesley University to continue its partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The collaboration helps teachers use Verizon's Thinkfinity.org to improve student achievement across all subject areas.

The grant is the fourth installment of funding that is enabling the university and the state education department to reach more teachers with professional-development opportunities by delivering online Thinkfinity.org training via the department's MassONE portal.

Over the past three years, the collaboration among Verizon, Lesley University and the state education department has created a network of 150 Thinkfinity trainers who have trained more than 4,000 teachers throughout the state to use the online resource.  The training will be expanded to still more teachers.

"Our goal is to provide teachers with more tools to help students reach their fullest academic potential," said Donna Cupelo, region president of Verizon New England.  "Thinkfinity offers interactive, multimedia lesson plans that enable teachers to engage students in an exciting, innovative learning environment.  We are pleased that even more teachers will have the opportunity to learn about Thinkfinity and how they can use these resources to help them expand the depth and breadth of their instruction."

With the latest grant, the Verizon Foundation has donated more than $250,000 since November 2007 to support the collaboration between Lesley and the state education department.  Over the past two years, the foundation also awarded an additional $300,000 in grants directly to 30 Massachusetts schools and school districts to use Thinkfinity to improve student achievement. 

Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org) contains thousands of free, engaging educational resources that make learning fun, including K-12 lesson plans, in-class activities and videos that can be found quickly and searched by grade level, keyword or subject.

Verizon Thinkfinity resources are aligned to state and national standards. The program provides resources for K-12 teachers across eight academic disciplines, including science, English and math.

In addition to providing standards-based resources from some of the nation's leading educational organizations, Verizon Thinkfinity.org also offers a comprehensive professional-development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online or face-to-face training to learn how to make the most of Verizon Thinkfinity tools.

Content for Verizon's Thinkfinity is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Council for Economic Education, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention.  In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000.  For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 94.1 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 194,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

Lesley University http://www.lesley.edu is a 9,000-student, multi-site university for women and men, and is one of the nation's largest providers of graduate professional education opportunities to K-12 educators. Anchored by a strong liberal arts curriculum, Lesley offers undergraduate and graduate programs in education, the arts, human services and the environment at its Cambridge and Boston campuses, online, and in 150 locations in 23 states. Lesley's four schools include the School of Education, the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, The Art Institute of Boston, and Lesley College, an undergraduate residential college. The National Center for Teachers, Counselors and School Leaders at Lesley serves beginning and mid-career educators, as well as districts and education organizations.  Lesley University prepares individuals for lives and careers that make a difference, and serves the evolving needs of students and a diverse society through innovative programs and pedagogy, high quality instruction, scholarship, advocacy, and outreach.