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Grant narrows digital divide at TES

Tharptown Elementary students are one step closer to “closing the digital divide” because of a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority and Franklin Electric.

TES received a grant of $5,000, the maximum amount available through the grant, to go toward Dell Chromebooks.

“We cannot convey our appreciation to TVA and Franklin Electric enough,” said TES teacher Samantha Warhurst, who applied for the grant. “Although we have been grateful for the recent CARES Act funds provided to purchase technology, the fact remains it will still not be enough for many schools.

“Digital education is the future, and it our job to prepare our students to be successful in a digital world,” Warhurst added. “There is a large digital divide occurring between students at schools with more amounts of funding and resources and my students here at a Title I rural school. For the schools like us, most in need in low income rural districts, catching up requires significant help, and we are so thankful for programs and funding such as this TVA STEM Grant.”

The grant award is a part of $800,000 in competitive STEM grants awarded to nearly 200 schools across TVA’s seven-state service territory. Schools were able to apply for up to $5,000 to go toward STEM education projects.

“Despite the new challenges Valley teachers faced in 2020, they are still focused on providing the best STEM education possible and have adjusted to new ways of teaching,” said community engagement senior program manager Rachel Crickmar. “I am proud of the partnerships we have built with these amazing educators across the Tennessee Valley over the past few years, and we are pleased to be able to provide some support through this program.

“Through the grants awarded this year, over 72,000 students will be directly impacted across the Valley.”