Verizon Teams With Long Beach Education Foundation to Bring the Free Educational Resources of Thinkfinity.org to Elementary School Classrooms

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Verizon and the Long Beach Education Foundation are embarking on a project to explore ways in which the treasure trove of educational resources available through Verizon's free and innovative Thinkfinity.org Web site can enrich the learning experience in elementary school classrooms.

Legendary actor James Earl Jones, Verizon's longtime partner in promoting literacy, participated in the launch of the project today (Dec. 10) at Long Beach's Mark Twain Library by reading "Jack and the Beanstalk" to a group of 4th-grade students from Tincher Preparatory School. 

Verizon has named California State University, Monterey Bay to lead the project, which will initially focus on elementary schools in Long Beach and is intended to become a model for integrating content from Thinkfinity.org into elementary school curricula in classrooms across California.

"Since we entrust teachers with our most precious resource, we have a responsibility to give them the best tools to help them to do the great work of educating our children," said Tim McCallion, Verizon West region president. "Verizon's Thinkfinity.org Web site opens up a new realm of possibilities for teachers to find ways to engage and enlighten their students."

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's free Web site, which provides more than 55,000 educational resources, including standards-based, grade-specific K-12 lesson plans and other interactive tools and materials for teachers and students provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations.

Thinkfinity.org features resources across eight academic disciplines, from science to English to mathematics, to improve student achievement. Thinkfinity.org is designed to help teachers gain access to online resources quickly and requires no passwords or software downloads.

Educational experts from CSU, Monterey Bay's Instructional Design and Technology Lab will instruct teachers at the participating schools on how using material at Thinkfinity.org can provide them with more resources and tools to help students learn.

"This program significantly advances Long Beach Unified School District's goal of putting educational technology into every classroom," said Judy Seal, executive director of the Long Beach Education Foundation. "Our teachers are excited to participate in this pilot project, which will set a new standard for technology integration in the classroom."

The program will also encourage Long Beach school administrators and librarians and the faculty of CSU, Long Beach to use the extensive professional-development resources available at Thinkfinity.org.

Content for Thinkfinity.org 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, the International Reading Association, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Council on Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of  Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy Worldwide and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education through its signature program Thinkfinity.org; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

The mission of the Long Beach Education Foundation is to encourage the success of all students in the Long Beach Unified School District by recognizing excellence, supporting efforts to improve education and assisting the district to enable all students to learn and become responsible, productive members of a competitive society.  The Long Beach Education Foundation accomplishes its mission by raising funds, support, and resources for the 93 schools and dozens of programs and departments of the Long Beach Unified School District, the 2003 winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education.  http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/Community/Education_Foundation/

Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 63.7 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of nearly 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

California State University, Monterey Bay
CSUMB is located alongside Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast, occupying the site of the former Fort Ord Army base. The university has earned national recognition for its work in helping students examine issues of justice, diversity and social responsibility through service learning. It offers individualized study, rich diversity, global perspectives, interdisciplinary majors and sophisticated technologies at the undergraduate and graduate levels. CSUMB is one of the few truly residential campuses in the CSU system - 65 percent of the university's 4,000 students live on campus.

Instructional Design and Technology Lab (ID&T Lab)
The ID&T Lab serves as the lead educational agency for the Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity-California Project. The ID&T Lab researches and tests new hardware and software tools to determine their potential for enhancing and transforming education. The Instructional Design and Technology Lab seeks methods to assist educators in "connecting" with students despite barriers of geography and time or diverse learning styles. The Instructional Design and Technology Lab is also a prototyping space for technologies, applications, programmatic initiatives, and for scholarly research design. Finally, the lab provides training in new technologies and assists faculty in incorporating innovative tools within their teaching.