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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #15-2
January 7, 2015
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Winners of Broadband Grants

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced 227 school sites will share nearly $27 million in Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grants (BIIG) to help school districts enhance their network connectivity so they can successfully administer the state's new online tests.

"These state grants provide the critical last step needed to connect an additional 63,000 students to the state education network that will give them access to technology, which will prepare them for college and careers, and let them take the new computer-based California assessments," said Torlakson.

California public schools administered field tests last year to determine their readiness for implementing California's new computer-based assessment program. While the vast majority of schools were successful, about 300 sites either lacked the online capacity to administer the Smarter Balanced Field Test [Note: the preceding text link is no longer active] or were able to only accommodate the tests by shutting down all other online activities. Of these 300 sites, 227 will be awarded BIIG funding to connect to the California Research and Education Network [Note: the preceding text link is no longer valid]. The K-12 High Speed Network [] External link opens in new window or tab. (K12HSN) is continuing to explore connectivity solutions for the remaining sites.

"While school sites with the most need were selected to receive the grants, this process has provided further data to help those schools that didn't receive funding at this time," said Imperial County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Todd Finnell, whose agency administers the K12HSN program. "Additional work is needed to secure funding and identify possible solutions for these schools."

"Getting all school sites connected is critical because the new online system provides teachers more resources to improve instruction, improves students' test-taking experience, and ensures that results are available to teachers, parents, and students much sooner than ever before," said State Board of Education President Dr. Michael Kirst.

The State Board of Education and the California Department of Education helped the K12HSN develop the criteria to select the sites. For the list of grant recipients, visit the Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program Web page [Note: the preceding text link is no longer valid.]

Advancing education technology furthers Torlakson's Empowering Learning: California Education Technology Blueprint, 2014—2017 (PDF) that focuses on harnessing 21st century tools to improve teaching and learning so that no child is left offline.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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