Friday, November 27 , 2015, 8:08 am | Fair 47º

El Camino Students Celebrate QAD’s ‘Project Upgrade’ Technology Grant

QAD Vice President Murray Ray takes questions from students at El Camino School.
QAD Vice President Murray Ray takes questions from students at El Camino School.  (Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)

By Dave Bemis for the Santa Barbara County Education Office |

Leaders of the software company QAD joined students, educators and community members at El Camino School on May 14 to celebrate the company’s “Project Upgrade” grant to support technology improvements.

Each year, the Santa Barbara-based global software company makes an investment in innovative projects that allow students to spend hands-on time with technology.

El Camino, an elementary school in the Goleta Union School District, received $28,768 this year from QAD, which has provided grants directly to schools on the South Coast since 2005.

When QAD Vice President Murray Ray asked the students if they had any questions for him, the responses included: “What can you do with a 3D printer?” “Is what you do at QAD hard?” “Did you have to persevere?”

Ray shared the story of his journey from a small mining town in Australia and talked about how, through education, he was able to leave his town and find success in business.

“QAD is committed to supporting the communities in which its employees work,” Ray said. “QAD’s community involvement goal is to provide assistance that is consistent with our core values of partnership with our customers, commitment to excellence, innovation, global teamwork, integrity and respect for the individual. Our support for the community is focused on funding nonprofit organizations at the intersection of children, education and technology.”

Local schools are invited to apply to QAD yearly. The Santa Barbara County Education Office assists with outreach and grant-writing support, and then a committee of employees at QAD reviews each application, performs site visits and ultimately narrows down the competitive field.

“The Santa Barbara County Education Office is proud to help QAD coordinate these grants each year,” county Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone said. “The company’s investments in education help local teachers and students learn the 21st century technologies that are essential for success in school and the workplace. This kind of enlightened business leadership also supports the local economy by helping to assure a strong, capable workforce in the future.”

As this year’s Project Upgrade recipient, El Camino Elementary will receive $28,768 in grant funding to purchase 10 iPads, 12 laptops, 12 electronic sensors for science research, a large-screen TV and a 3D printer. The school has already invested heavily in technology and science education, as it currently has a computer lab with a computer teacher, a science lab with a science teacher, 42 iPads, 26 desktop computers, 34 laptops and 20 robotics kits.

“El Camino School is an amazing place. There’s a spirit and energy that supports our expectation that every child can learn. There’s a visible desire to go above and beyond every day in an atmosphere of high expectations and purposeful goal-setting for every child," Goleta Union School District Superintendent William Banning said. “Now we add QAD to the growing list of partners who understand what value the business community can bring to powerful public education. We truly appreciate QAD’s support of the school’s recently renovated science lab. This grant will go a long way to integrating our science instruction with 21st century learning skills and the tools that support them.”

The school joins an illustrious list of previous winners: Isla Vista and Ellwood School (2013); Aliso, Canalino, and Carpinteria Family schools (2012); Brandon (2011); La Patera (2010); Franklin (2009); Cesar Chavez (2008); McKinley (2007); Harding (2006); and Adams (2005).

QAD is a local leader in educational investments. In addition to the Project Upgrade grants, the SBCEO Teachers Network program was awarded $5,884 this year to fund QAD TeachNet grants that support teachers who are innovative leaders in using technologies and the Internet to support student learning and success.

In addition to the company’s financial support, QAD employees volunteer as advisors, tutors, mentors, guest speakers, mock job interview subjects, and career-day participants in Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria schools.

— Dave Bemis is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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