Virginia Schools Get Million Dollars for Interactive Distance Learning

Virginia Schools Get Million Dollars for Interactive Distance Learning

Company makes third installment on $7 million commitment

December 11, 1996

Media contacts:

Paul Miller 804-772-1460


RICHMOND, Va. - For the third straight year, Bell
Atlantic will give
away close to a million dollars to Virginia public schools and
colleges to help jump start interactive distance learning. The
company intends to contribute an additional $4 million to this effort
over the next four years.

The winners of the 1997 Bell Atlantic-Virginia distance learning
grants are:

  • The Commonwealth Governors' School -- $150,000 to
    help complete a
    distance learning network that will eventually connect 13 high
    schools in the counties of Caroline, Fluvanna, Goochland, Louisa,
    Orange, Spotsylvania, Stafford and King George, and in the city of

  • Hampton Roads Consortium for Distance Learning --
    $125,000 to help
    fund 13 new distance learning classrooms at public schools located
    in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, York County and at Thomas Nelson
    Community College.

  • Cumberland County Schools -- $75,000 to help fund
    classrooms in that
    county, which will be linked to Longwood College and Southside
    Virginia Community College.

  • Richmond Technical Center -- $120,000 to help fund
    new sites on the
    center's existing interactive distance learning network.

  • The Southwest Virginia Education and Training Network
    $130,000 to help add three new sites - one in Buchannan County and
    two in Wise County. Also, funds will be used to upgrade a site in
    Lee County and another at Mountain Empire Community College in Big
    Stone Gap.

  • The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) --
    $230,000 to help
    extend the existing distance learning network to public elementary and
    high schools in the VCCS service region. Proposed sites include: J.
    Sargeant Reynolds Community College and Lee-Davis High School in the
    Richmond area; Blue Ridge Community College and Robert E. Lee High
    School in Staunton; Northern Virginia Community College and schools in
    Fairfax County; Danville Community College and George Washington High
    School in Danville; and Southside Virginia Community College and
    Cumberland High school.

  • Virginia Tech -- $120,000 to help fund two distance
    learning campus
    classrooms and four distance learning sites at graduate centers in
    Falls Church, Hampton Roads, Leesburg and Alexandria.

Grants were awarded by a panel of eight members representing state
government, education, technology and Bell Atlantic.

"Classrooms today need not be defined by a blackboard, four walls
a door," said HREF="http://www.ba.com/speeches/profiles/stallard.html">Hugh
Stallard, president and CEO of Bell

"The school systems that are building these distance learning
are finding they can interact in real time with students miles away.
I'm proud that Bell Atlantic can be part of this revolution in
education," he said.

Bell Atlantic distance learning grants are available to public
schools, K-12, and all state-supported colleges and universities in
Bell Atlantic-Virginia's service area. The company serves roughly
two-thirds of the public schools in the state. The grants may be used
for purchase of classroom equipment necessary for interactive distance
learning (such as TV monitors, cameras, microphones, etc.).

Distance learning systems are not new to Virginia. Schools can now
receive instructional classes over satellite links. Unlike the
existing satellite system, however, Bell Atlantic's new distance
learning networks are totally interactive, both visually and verbally.

Students and faculty are able to see one another and communicate
spontaneously over the network. Teachers have the ability to call on
students who raise their hands, much the same as they would in a
natural classroom setting.

Stallard suggested that interactive distance learning will help bring
about parity among the schools. For example, rural schools that may
not be able to offer a comprehensive language arts curriculum may do
so at a fraction of the expense through interactive distance learning.

Bell Atlantic launched its first distance learning initiative in 1994
in the southwestern end of the state. The company linked two Lee
County high schools with Mountain Empire Community College over a
50-mile fiber optic network. All programming on the network is
provided by the schools.

Schools wishing to apply for future Bell Atlantic distance learning
funding should write: Manager-Distance Learning Grants, Bell Atlantic,
4th floor, 600 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219.

Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:
BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.


Recipient Contacts:

Commonwealth Governor's School: Jimmy Chancey, 540-981-2445

Hampton Roads Consortium for Distance Learning: Charles Stallard,

Cumberland County Schools: Richard Bratcher, 804-395-2034

Richmond Technical Center: J. Austin Brown, 804-780-6237

Southwest Virginia Education & Training Network: Bruce Mathews,

Virginia Community College System: Lew Terpstra, 804-371-2876

Virginia Tech: J. Thomas Head, 540-231-6822