Jefferson Elementary School has received three grants from Public Education Partners this summer – one to purchase science materials for gifted students and the others for two teachers to obtain iPads as technology resources.


Ellen Cotton serves as the instructor for the Gifted and Talented program for grades three through five that serves Jefferson and other Area 3 schools.


The new materials she is obtaining will benefit Gifted and Talented programs in schools throughout the county, she said.


“We are excited to have the opportunity to provide the gifted students with the highest-quality curriculum available and sincerely appreciate the support of PEP,” Cotton said.


Fourth-grade teachers Renee Enlow and Shannon Ennis are obtaining iPads that can provide a range of activities for science and other content areas – attainable through the iPads and free apps.


All the Jefferson teachers will get iPads for use in 2013-14, said Principal Becky Wilson. She is using federal Title I funds for those purchases.


Savannah River Remediation also donated a grant that will provide funding for some Apple TVs, allowing teachers to create hubs for the iPads that can wirelessly put student and teacher work on a classroom SmartBoard for all to see.


“Look at the world around us,” Wilson said Monday. “I have two kids in school, and, if they want to know something, they can find YouTube and apps. There are so many opportunities, such as science apps that can give students the scenario of a lab and are so much more affordable.”


Such organizations as PEP are known as Local Education Foundations – nonprofits that provide advocacy for public education.


“PEP is very happy to able to able to fund some of these very needed and important programs,” said Director Jeff Howell in a email.


Apps available through the iPads can tap into new Common Core academic standards used by nearly all states throughout the nation.


“The teacher becomes more mobile and can have small groups or one-on-one work,” Enlow said. “The technology adds more excitement for kids who have grown up with it. But it’s only as good as what a teacher can do with it. It doesn’t take the place of good, sound teaching in the classroom. It just becomes a resource.”


Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.