Pennsylvania Department of Education Receives Additional $100,000 Grant From Verizon to Expand Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers Using Thinkfinity.org

HERSHEY, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has received an additional $100,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to continue to raise awareness and train teachers to use the free educational resources available on Thinkfinity.org.

With the grant, the Verizon Foundation has now invested $200,000 with the PDE to provide innovative online resources and professional development for teachers throughout Pennsylvania. 

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.

"PDE's vision is that all systems within the commonwealth are standards aligned while focused on the needs of the 21st century learners," said Robert J. Keegan Jr., executive director of Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unite (IU) #21. "The Verizon Thinkfinity grant provides Pennsylvania with an opportunity to thoughtfully populate the resources and materials component of a standards-aligned system." 

In October 2008, the Pennsylvania IU technology integration mentors began training to become Thinkfinity field trainers.  To date, Pennsylvania has 35 field trainers and 175 end users across the commonwealth.  In the next year, Pennsylvania will continue to increase the number of field trainers and end users by networking with other PDE-sponsored programs such as Classroom for the Future and Keystone Technology Integrators.

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 classroom teachers statewide, utilizing an established cadre of mentors.

  • Provide Thinkfinity.org resources aligned to state academic standards and assessment anchors in support of Pennsylvania's Standards Aligned Systems (SAS) initiatives.

  • Raise awareness of Thinkfinity.org resources and professional development opportunities to educators statewide through the coaching and mentoring communities of practice already established within the state's educational portal.

"Our world is continually changing, and with the continuous updates and expansion of Thinkfinity.org, teachers throughout Pennsylvania have quick access to a constant flow of new educational materials," said Gale Y. Given, president of Verizon Pennsylvania.  "We are proud to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to bring these resources to the teachers and students of Pennsylvania 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.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  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 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

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

The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees Pennsylvania's public schools, including its 501 school districts, 29 intermediate units and other local education agencies.  The department's mission is to lead and serve the educational community in order to enable each individual to grow into an inspired, productive and fulfilled lifelong learner.

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.