Parkview Elementary School’s resource room/special education teacher Kerrie Zerba received a $5,000 grant from CenturyLink’s Teachers and Technology program after submitting an application to the CenturyLink Foundation early in 2016. Her project entitled ‘Technology Integration for Equitable Education’ will fund eight Apple Air 2 iPads with keyboards and cases, plus extra money to buy Apps for them.
Zerba was surprised with the announcement during a Parkview staff learning day. CenturyLink officials area plant supervisor Brian Hirschy, field marketing manager Jane Nishita and area operations manager in Bellingham Ike Salter presented the award. Salter stated that Zerba was the only teacher in ESD 189 to receive a grant this year and only one of 22 in the entire state of Washington.
In her application, Zerba describes the specific needs of her resource room. “Providing equitable technology access and integrated learning opportunities for special needs students is critical to develop the 21st century skills they need to be successful in today’s complex world,” she writes.
“Students with special needs require not only technology tools to obtain and communicate information, but often require assistive technology to be independent and collaborative learners in the classroom.The students I serve are behind the technology wave, having minimal to no access to the tools they need to be on par with their peers and prepared for their future – iPads will be a first step in integrating technology into their curriculum.”
In an email sent after the award announcement, Nishita writes “Zerba’s special education students will be able to learn in ways that can work for them.”
“Those with dysgraphia or developmental delays, autism or mutism, Prader Willi syndrome or proprioception will benefit from what these technology devices can bring, that which other learning tools could not deliver.”