RINET Receives $25,000 From Verizon Foundation to Improve Student Achievement

The Verizon Foundation has awarded $25,000 to the Rhode Island Network for Educational Technology (RINET) to continue its collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The collaboration helps teachers across the state use Thinkfinity.org to improve student achievement.

The award is the second installment of funding that is enabling RINET to continue to provide professional-development opportunities to classroom and pre-service teachers statewide, through on-site and online training. The program also creates a Rhode Island network of Thinkfinity trainers and ensures that Thinkfinity resources are aligned with the Rhode Island Curriculum Frameworks.  Over the past year, more than 720 teachers have been trained to use Thinkfinity in the classroom statewide.

Since November 2008, the Verizon Foundation has donated $50,000 to support the partnership.  In July 2009, the Verizon Foundation also awarded grants of $5,000 each to five Rhode Island schools and school districts to use Thinkfinity to improve student achievement, for a total of $75,000 in grants.

Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org) contains thousands of free, engaging educational resources that make learning fun, including K-12 lesson plans, in-class activities and videos that can be found quickly and searched by grade level, keyword or subject.

Verizon Thinkfinity resources are aligned to state and national standards. The program provides resources for K-12 teachers across eight academic disciplines, including science, English and math.

"Thinkfinity is a high quality resource that teachers are embracing," said Holly Walsh, instructional technology and telecommunications specialist at the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  "It is user-friendly, offers high-quality curriculum, and unlike most curriculum resources it is free. The partnership with the Verizon Foundation is helping us give teachers more tools to improve student achievement."

In addition to providing standards-based resources from the nation's leading educational organizations, Verizon Thinkfinity.org also offers a comprehensive professional-development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online or face-to-face training to learn how to make the most of Verizon Thinkfinity tools.

The grant announced today will be used to:

  • Provide professional development on-site and online training to classroom teachers.

  • Provide Thinkfinity.org resources aligned to state standards to educators and students through the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's educator resource portal.

  • Raise awareness of Thinkfinity.org resources and professional development opportunities to educators statewide.

"Whether it's an English teacher looking for resources to spark a love of reading in a student, or a parent seeking a convenient and user-friendly educational activity to stimulate the mind of a young child, Thinkfinity.org will help them quickly and easily find the information needed to improve student achievement," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president of New England.  "Thinkfinity also helps educators to reinforce the 21st century skills needed to succeed in higher educations and the workforce."

Content for Verizon 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, Council for Economic Education, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, 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 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $67.5 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 $26.1 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 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 91 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.