EDINBURG – Approximately 200 fifth-grade students from the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District recently received Chromebooks and mobile hotspots to use off campus thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

“It’s outstanding. The students are thrilled, excited and don’t want to be absent,” said Nancy Yanez, a fifth-grade math teacher at Brewster School. “They come in with their backpacks and their laptops, and they are set to go.”

According to TEA, the Technology Lending grants provide school systems funds to purchase technology devices that are loaned to students for access to digital instruction materials off campus. The grant also provides personal student learning devices and internet access for students who would not otherwise have access to digital instructional materials off campus.

“The hotspots come in handy. We don’t get service most of the time. We are out in the country and you know how it is with satellites,” Yanez said. “This grant really pays off and it’s going to be utilized well.”

TEA awarded 2018–2019 Technology Lending grants to 148 school districts and charters, aimed at ensuring equitable access to quality digital resources and courses for all students.

“It helps me a lot in reading. Right now I’m reading a book on my Chromebook, so I can meet my Accelerated Reader (AR) goals. It also helps me go on YouTube and look up educational videos that help me with my math,” said Lucas Adams, a fifth-grade student at Brewster School. “I use Clever (a learning software application), so I can study science and social studies to get my grades up.”

One of the goals of the project is to inspire creativity and enhance student learning experiences by providing new opportunities with the latest technologies.

“I was very low in reading. Now that I get to take my personal study guide home, I met my AR goal and my grades have picked up a lot. That was very exciting for me,” said Sophia Morin, a fifth-grade student at Brewster School.

Brewster School is one of three Edinburg CISD campuses participating in the project. The other two campuses, which are also located in northern Hidalgo County, include Avila Elementary School and Hargill Elementary School.

“Being able to meet the technology needs of many students in our district is something I am truly thankful for that our district is able to do,”ECISD Technology Integration Specialist Gina Alamia said. “Seeing the faces of tomorrow's leaders light up with their new devices, makes every minute of work worthwhile. Tis’ the spirt of technology integration education.”