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Local Schools Celebrate QAD’s ‘Project Upgrade’ Technology Grants

Leaders of QAD joined with educators, students and community members Monday at Isla Vista School to celebrate the company’s “Project Upgrade” grants to support technology improvements.

Each year, the Santa Barbara-based global software company calculates a percentage of its profits for reinvestment into innovative projects that allow students to spend hands-on time with technology. Isla Vista and Ellwood, two elementary schools in the Goleta Union School District, received a combined $28,516 this year from QAD, which has provided grants directly to schools on the South Coast since 2006.

“QAD is committed to supporting the communities in which its employees work,” said Murray Ray, the company’s chief people officer. “QAD’s community involvement goal is to provide assistance that is consistent with the QAD 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. A committee of employees at QAD then reviews each application, performs site visits and ultimately narrows down the competitive field.

“Each year, the Santa Barbara County Education Office is pleased to support QAD in coordinating their investments in our local schools,” county Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone said. “QAD’s support gives our students and teachers an excellent opportunity to learn the technologies that will help them succeed academically and to learn technological and collaborative skills that are essential to the workplace.”

As this year’s primary Project Upgrade recipient, Isla Vista School received $20,616 in grant funding to purchase 48 iPads — eight iPads each for six classrooms. The school will match the donated funds to provide a part-time computer specialist, maintenance service and peripheral equipment. Because earnings exceeded the request at Isla Vista School, QAD was able to apply additional funding toward a second request for its 2014 grant cycle.

Ellwood School received $7,900 to purchase five Apple TV devices and five “smart TVs,” which allow interactivity and Internet connectivity. The school was invited to reapply in future years.

“As we focus our energies on responding to the depth and complexity of the new Common Core State Standards, we understand the critical role that technology in the hands of students will play in supporting academic success,” said Superintendent William Banning of the Goleta Unified School District. “We are grateful for QAD’s recognition and generosity related to this initiative and look forward to maintaining a partnership with them as our district continues to make technology a part of both daily learning and long-term assessment.”

The schools joined an illustrious list of previous winners: Aliso, Canalino and Carpinteria Family schools (2013), Brandon (2012), La Patera (2011), Franklin (2010), Cesar Chavez (2009), McKinley (2008), Harding (2007) and Adams (2006).

QAD is a local leader in educational investments. In addition to the Project Upgrade grants, the Santa Barbara County Education Office Teachers Network Program was awarded $6,764 this year to fund QAD TeachNet programs that support teachers who are innovative leaders in using technologies and the Internet to support student learning and success. QAD has also invested in Partners in Education at the Santa Barbara County Education Office, devoting $25,000 each year toward core operating support.

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.

At Monday’s event, students spoke about the ways they will use the new technological tools at their schools. Other key participants included Ray of QAD; Mary Kahn, Isla Vista School principal; Abby Vasquez, Ellwood School principal; and Susan Salcido, Santa Barbara County Education Office deputy superintendent.

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

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