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Georgia Department of Education

The Georgia Department of Education will receive a nearly $18.6 million federal grant to revamp virtual learning for students and professional learning for educators across the state, according to a news release issued on Thursday.

The Georgia DOE plans to use the $18,594,304, allocated by the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos, “to improve the professional learning available to leaders and educators on personalized learning, expand student connectivity, and improve infrastructure of — and expand access to — the Georgia Virtual School,” spokesperson Meghan Frick said in the Georgia DOE news release.

The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that Georgia, along with 10 other states, will receive a Rethink K-12 Education Models grant. The grant program, announced by the national Department of Education in April in response to the coronavirus pandemic, will dole out a total of more than $180 million to the 11 states.

“While Georgia educators have been amazing as they quickly pivoted to respond to the situation in March, we want to grow our ability to engage students using a personalized approach to learning,” Georgia DOE Deputy Superintendent Caitlin McMunn Dooley said in the news release. “This three-year grant will ensure long-term vision, leadership, and success using research-informed strategies for personalized learning.”

Cobb County School District spokesperson Nan Kiel said teachers in Cobb County, and all educators across the state, are eligible to take advantage of the professional learning and any other opportunities from the Georgia Department of Education.

"Any teacher in the state is eligible to benefit from programs offered by the Department of Education,” Kiel said in an email to the MDJ.

Educators in Marietta City Schools may also be able to benefit from the federal grant, according to the district's Chief Financial Officer, Erin Franklin.

"Marietta City Schools staff will benefit from this, as all districts will, depending on what the State rolls out," Franklin said in a statement to the MDJ, "however we haven’t received any specific information for MCS yet."

Richard Woods, the state school superintendent, said the grant will be used to expand virtual education.

“In Georgia, we are committed to building a more personalized and connected educational system, and continuing to leverage virtual learning more effectively, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and long-term,” Woods said in the news release. "These funds will help us build that system and expand personalized learning opportunities for our students."

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