The Alexandria Education Foundation (AEF) has donated $41,473 to fund the purchase of Chromebook devices to support distance learning in Alexandria Public Schools.

The Beverly "B" Lohrman grant of $5,000 was a part of the total funds to purchase the Chromebooks. The donation will fund 200 devices to ensure all students have access to the technology they need.

When Gov. Tim Walz called for the closure of schools across Minnesota in response to the coronavirus pandemic, leaders from Alexandria Public Schools said they were in a strong position to support distance learning with devices on hand for every student in grades 3-12. The AEF board met to discuss how they could partner with the district to provide financial support to purchase additional Chromebook devices for grades K-2.

“The board recognizes that all Alexandria Public School teachers are working in very innovative ways to ensure quality learning,” said Christine Reilly, AEF executive director. “We are pleased to be able to support the school district to give all students a chance to learn remotely.”

With the decision to fund the Chromebooks, the donation will be taken out of the allocation for teacher grants. Therefore, AEF will not be awarding any teacher innovation grants this year.

“As always, our primary goal is to make an impact on students in Alexandria Public Schools,” said Jay Sieling, AEF board chair. “We recognize how hard teachers have been working to provide quality distance learning and feel the purchase of the Chromebooks certainly fulfills the ‘innovative’ criteria set for grant applications.”

“As a partner with our schools, AEF understands the needs of our teachers, students and families,” said Julie Critz, superintendent. “They have been nimble and responsive in a manner where they could have the most impact on students and we are extremely grateful.”

“The technology needs for distance learning were greater than what our district was able to accommodate,” said Kevin Brezina, APS technology director. “We are so fortunate to have the Foundation step up in helping procure additional Chromebooks allowing us to get devices into the hands of our younger elementary school students. While these devices are playing a crucial role in distance learning now, we are excited to see how they will be used by students when onsite learning resumes.”

Since 2009, AEF has awarded more than $330,000 in grants to teachers in Alexandria Public Schools to fund innovative learning opportunities for students. To learn more about AEF’s impact, visit www.alexeducationfoundation.org.