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      Jefferson City elementary gets lucrative technology grant

      Fourth graders in Mrs. Schmitz's class at East Elementary had more to talk about than just grades when their parents came to see their progress this semester.

      East Elementary received a $338,189 grant.

      It allowed administrators to bring 135 computers into the classroom, which improved the student to computer ratio at East Elementary from 7:1 to 2:1.

      The third time was the charm for officials here at East Elementary. They had applied for two years before receiving the grant this school year.

      The grant comes from the eMINTS National Center. The group aims to inspire educators to use instructional strategies powered by technology while engaging students in the learning process.

      "We knew this amount of technology and the professional development it could offer the teachers was something we wouldn't ever get any way else," East Elementary Principal Julie Martin said.

      The computers landed in the classes about a month ago and the students are already zipping away on them.

      Teachers said kids are already doing about half their school work on the machines.

      Fourth grader Mason York demonstrated his skills on both the Smart Board and computer to his dad, Bob, who is thrilled with the school's new upgrade.

      "It gets their minds going in a lot of directions that maybe the paper work doesn't necessarily do," Bob York said. "The movement and the colors and just the creativity factor is huge for these kids, especially at this age."

      East Elementary staff spent spring breaks at the computer, writing this grant and crossing their fingers.

      "I see how engaged they are and how much they enjoy it and how proud they are," Martin said. "They're really taking care of the equipment. Its well worth it."

      Martin said that is important because many East Elementary families cannot afford to have a computer at home.