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Liberty gets $95,000 tech grant

COVINGTON -- Liberty Middle School students are a little more high tech now.

The Newton County School System recently announced that the school, which opened this year, was awarded a $95,000 Construction Related Equipment Grant from the Georgia Department of Education. It was a non-competitive grant for which the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education department applied.

"The Construction Related Equipment Grant is provided through the Georgia Department of Education to assist local systems with equipping Career, Technical and Agricultural Education labs in new schools," said James Woodard, director of CTAE for Newton County schools. "It was provided to equip the Engineering Technology lab, Family and Consumer Science lab and the Business Education lab (at Liberty) with the most advanced technology to help provide students with an exploration of Career Pathways that are available at the high school level."

The school will purchase equipment for those school programs to use for technology enhancement and instruction that will help students eventually become more competitive in the job market.

For example, Woodard said the engineering lab now will be able to administer HTML-based instruction for students to study basic electricity, robotics, construction, hydraulics, research and design and other computer applications.

"It certainly will help us enhance their programs," said Dr. Linda Hayden, associate superintendent for Curriculum at NCSS.

Woodard said Liberty staff members are excited that they now will be able to deliver more hands-on learning for its students.

"These modules will provide students an opportunity to explore areas related to our local work force needs," he said. "Technology/engineering is an area that needs extra emphasis due to the lack of student interest, and with the grant, Liberty Middle School is sure that the interest can be built."

Woodard added the modules will present the students with the unique ability to tap into local industries and obtain an understanding of what it takes to be successful in the industries.

"The modules will enhance the students' knowledge of technology and engineering and open up worlds that the students did not know existed," he said.