Verizon Awards $75,000 Grant to Provide Washington Teachers With Training to Use Thinkfinity.org's Free Online Resources

TACOMA, Wash. - The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) received a $75,000 grant Tuesday (July 29) from the Verizon Foundation to raise awareness and train teachers throughout the state to use thousands of free educational resources available on Thinkfinity.org.

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's comprehensive online portal to more than 55,000 educational and literacy resources for teachers, parents and students. Resources include standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and engaging interactive activities provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations.

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 to online resources quickly.

Verizon announced the grant at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's Summer Institute. 

"Thinkfinity provides educators with a great opportunity to utilize technology to advance their skills in an efficient and effective manner," said Gov. Christine Gregoire, who attended the event. "This public-private partnership is a perfect example of how we can reach our goals to enhance our education system and to provide more opportunities for our kids."

The Educational Technology Development Center, in collaboration with the Educational Technology Support Center Program and supported by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, is the Thinkfinity state education partner in Washington.

The grant will be used to:

  • Provide professional development opportunities to classroom teachers statewide through on-site and online training provided by Washington state's Educational Technology Support Centers located at each of the nine regional Educational Service Districts (see http://www.edtech.wednet.edu/programs/thinkfinity/).

  • Provide access to Thinkfinity resources aligned to current and emerging state standards, through a centralized Web site.

  • Infuse Thinkfinity professional development into other statewide initiatives, such as peer coaching and online learning.

To make the Thinkfinity site even more valuable to teachers, students and parents, the Verizon Foundation recently announced several enhancements and improvements to the Thinkfinity.org Web site, including:

  • The addition of 500 new resources.

  • Individual portals to allow users to search for resources targeted to educators, students, parents or after-school programs.

  • A dynamic new look.

  • A simple, more comprehensive search engine.

  • Ability to search for resources tailored to individual state standards.

"The exciting thing about the Thinkfinity grant is the teacher training," said Terry Bergeson, Washington state superintendent. "Teachers need to know how to create classroom activities that use the lesson plans, interactive learning games and home study materials from the Thinkfinity Web site. Training will help teachers integrate these learning resources so they can bring a new and exciting digital dimension into the learning environment - one they can adapt to different learning styles."

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

"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 David S. Valdez, senior vice president for Verizon's Pacific Northwest region.

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, 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 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 signature program, 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 Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Dr. Terry Bergeson, OSPI works with the state's 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students. At all nine Educational Service Districts (ESDs), Educational Technology Support Centers (ETSCs) are state-funded to improve technology infrastructure, monitor and report on school district technology development, promote standards for school district technology, promote statewide coordination and planning for technology development. The Educational Technology Development Center (ETDC) is a cooperative effort of the ETSCs, housed at Puget Sound ESD in Renton, and is funded by a grant from OSPI.

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 nearly 69 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 more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.