Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Receives $50,000 From Verizon to Expand Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers Using Thinkfinity.org

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has received a $50,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to continue to raise teachers' awareness of the free educational resources available on Thinkfinity.org and to train teachers to use those resources.

With the grant, the Verizon Foundation has now invested $100,000 with DPI to provide innovative online resources and professional development for teachers throughout the Badger State.

"The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is pleased to receive this grant from the Verizon Foundation," said State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster.  "This partnership supports our goal of promoting growth of critical 21st century skills among our students, educators and community members so all are successful in today's global society."

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's free, comprehensive Web site containing more than 55,000 educational resources, including standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans, online educational games, videos and other materials provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational organizations.

Verizon's Thinkfinity.org offers elementary through high school teachers resources across eight academic disciplines, from science to English to mathematics, to improve student achievement. Thinkfinity.org is designed to help teachers gain access quickly to high-quality online resources.

In addition to providing standards-based resources from the nation's leading educational organizations, Thinkfinity.org also offers a free, robust professional-development program for teachers and trainers.

Verizon's grant will be used to continue to:

  • Provide professional development opportunities to Wisconsin educators statewide through on-site and online training. 

  • Provide Thinkfinity.org resources aligned to state standards to educators and students through the DPI's educator resource port - WINSS Curriculum Resource Center - and supported nationally on Thinkfinity.org.

  • Raise awareness of Thinkfinity.org resources through a Wisconsin statewide field-training network and an online professional course customized for Verizon.

"Our world is continually changing, and with the continuous updates and expansion of Thinkfinity.org, teachers throughout Wisconsin will have quick access to a constant flow of new educational materials," said Paul Fuglie, vice president of public policy for Verizon Wisconsin.  "We are proud to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to bring these resources to the teachers and students of Wisconsin for free."

Content for 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, 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 and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

"We welcome the Verizon foundation as a partner in our mission to provide a quality education system that ensures that every child graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the 21st century global society and that supports quality teachers in every classroom and strong leadership in every school," said Burmaster.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of K-12 education through its educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

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

The DPI is the state agency that advances public education and libraries in Wisconsin. The department is headed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a nonpartisan, constitutional officer elected every four years.  The agency was created in 1848, the year Wisconsin attained statehood, when the state constitution provided for the establishment of local school districts and a free education for all children in the state.   Since the election of State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster in 2001, the department has focused on fulfilling the New Wisconsin Promise of a quality education for every child in the state.

For more information, visit the DPI Web site at http://dpi.wi.gov/index.html.

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 more than 80 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 employs a diverse workforce of nearly 224,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.