Vance County Schools Receives Golden Leaf Foundation Grant

Mark Sorrells, senior vice president of the Golden Leaf Foundation, presented Darlynn Oxendine, chairwoman of the Vance County Board of Education, and Superintendent Anthony Jackson with a check for $400,000 in grant allocations to fund technological innovations for students at the board’s meeting on April 16.

Jordan McMillen, county manager for Vance County, also participated in the presentation.

The grant funding from the foundation will be used to equip zSpace laboratories in our middle and high schools for the 2018-2019 school year.

The zSpace STEM Learning Initiative represents a new direction for instructional delivery and academic outcomes for the students in Vance County. This initiative will systematically and intentionally embed the technical and essential skills into our instructional programs to ensure student readiness for the local, regional and global workforce.

This funding will support the establishment of 24-30 digital student-learning stations in the middle school and high school, as well as 12-15 digital stations at the STEM Early High School.

Teachers will be trained on specific skills to utilize virtual reality technology in the delivery of their individual content areas. Wikis, blogs and an e-lesson repository will be constructed to allow teachers to share and collaborate as they train and implement new strategies. Business and industry partners will engage with our Career and Technical Education program teachers to develop a functional profile of the worker needed to support their industry. These skills and attributes will be embedded in the core competencies and outcomes of each learning module. Students will have direct interaction with virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) software to enhance their level of knowledge, understanding and application of science, career and technology course work.

“This partnership with Golden Leaf represents a game-changing opportunity for our schools, our students and most of all our community,” said Superintendent Anthony Jackson. “Implementation of the zSpace technology, along with the high quality professional development and support from our partners at the Friday Institute, will ensure our students are both future ready and workforce prepared. Once this project is fully implemented, Vance County will have the largest and most robust deployment of this cutting-edge technology in the state and potentially the country. We are indeed fortunate. I would like to thank the Golden Leaf Foundation, the Board of Education and especially our County Administrator and Board of County Commissioners for their support of this initiative.”

 “Using artificial intelligence and virtual reality is a major part of the world of work today,” said Dr. Cindy Bennett, assistant superintendent for Student Support Services and Strategic Planning. “Students in Vance County Schools deserve the opportunity to experience firsthand the world today and the possibilities of tomorrow.”

Image Information: Mark Sorrells, senior vice president of the Golden Leaf Foundation, far left, presents a large replica of the $400,000 grant check for Vance County Schools for technological innovations to, from left, Superintendent Anthony Jackson, Board of Education Chairperson Darlynn Oxendine and Vance County Manager Jordan McMillen.