ETOILE, TX (KTRE) - For a school district with less than 200 students, being one of 75 semi-finalists for a $500,000 technology grant through Raise your Hand Texas is exciting for Etoile ISD.
"For us, it's a huge deal because we are a teeny-tiny place. Most people have never heard of Etoile," said Superintendent Sarah Hottman. "It's a big deal for us to be included with the 5-A and 6-A districts, and we are just super excited about this opportunity for our students."
However, their small size isn't the main reason they're excited for this opportunity. Etoile ISD has been planning on adding more advanced technology to their classrooms to go hand-in-hand with their new curriculum plan of blended learning.
"Blended learning means, as a student, you do your research-type lesson away from school in free time at home, and then you come back to school and actually do your independent work there," Hottman explained. "It's kind of like doing your learning at home and then your homework at school."
Etolie ISD said this way, they can focus on student's individual learning styles and why students are making errors and correcting them quickly. In fact, the school district has already begun implementing some new technologies.
"We have a one-to-one initiative for Chromebooks in 4th through 8th grade and then we have tablets for the younger students," Hottman said.
However, these new technologies are just a start. The grant would give Etoile ISD $500,000 over a span of three years to acquire more advanced devices and support to the further the blended learning curriculum.
So far, students and teachers have been positive towards these changes.
"They have seemed very engaged in what we're doing; they seem to have really bought into it," Hottman said.
Etoile ISD said they hope they receive the grant in order for their students to become 21st century learners.
"I want our kids to know even though they come from a very small place, that they can do things on a global setting," Hottman said. "They can really be part of a global community and reach out and see the different things that are out there in the world for them."