08.06.2003

Verizon Foundation Awards $20,000 in Grants to Education Initiatives in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine - Students returning to high schools in rural Northern Maine this fall will have new course offerings to select from, thanks to the Verizon Foundation.


The foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, has awarded two grants to support new, distance learning-based instruction in conversational Spanish in three Aroostook County high schools and in Western civilization in four others.


The Lewiston Regional Technical Center and the Central Aroostook Council on Education will each receive a $10,000 grant. The recipients were chosen from among applicants responding to a Verizon request for proposals that sought funding for projects demonstrating school district collaboration via the use of interactive video distance learning technology to enhance course offerings available in Maine's education system.


"Our grant award winners are excellent examples of using technology to expand the availability of course offerings throughout our state," said Ed Dinan, president of Verizon Maine. "These projects clearly illustrate how technology can be used to efficiently and effectively deliver to school districts--both rural and urban--a broader array of curricula choices to better prepare students for future success."


The conversational Spanish course offering will be made available to students attending Central Aroostook High School (in Mars Hill), Fort Fairfield High School and Wisdom High School (in St. Agatha) by an instructor located over 250 miles to the southwest in Lewiston.


The advanced placement course in Western civilization will be taught over distance learning facilities from the University of Maine at Presque Isle to students attending Fort Fairfield High School, the Limestone Community School, the Maine School of Science and Mathematics (in Limestone) and Presque Isle High School.


"The course offerings made available to most students in rural Aroostook County have been more limited than those in urban school districts to the south," added Dinan. "Verizon is dedicated to helping all students gain access to acquiring the skills necessary to succeed in a knowledge-based economy."


State Commissioner of Education Susan Gendron said, "Maine's educational system is centered around high standards for learning for all of our students. The applications of distance learning technology allowed by these Verizon Foundation grants are stimulating the innovation and collaboration necessary for Maine to meet its commitment to continuous improvement in education."


Representatives of the grant recipient organizations and Verizon will be honored at a reception this fall featuring Maine Gov. John Baldacci and Commissioner Gendron.


Verizon Foundation last year awarded 22,000 grants totaling more than $70 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, enriching communities through technology, and creating a skilled work force. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that last year encouraged Verizon employees to volunteer more than 500,000 hours in their communities and provided $27.8 million in combined contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.


Verizon Communications


A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 221,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.


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