Ben Hill Co. Schools get nearly $1M in federal funding

Ben Hill Co. Schools get nearly $1M in federal funding
Ben Hill County School Board (Source: WALB)

Fitzgerald, Ga. (WALB) - The Ben Hill County Board of Education has almost $1 million more dollars thanks to a federal grant for rural communities.

Superintendent Dr. Shawn Haralson said they are going to ease away from computer-based virtual learning and switch to live on-demand instruction with the money.

Superintendent Dr. Shawn Haralson.
Superintendent Dr. Shawn Haralson. (Source: WALB)

The Rural Utilities Service grant through the USDA is meant to help rural communities have better access to healthcare and education. Haralson said thanks to the award, students in Ben Hill County will have a unique opportunity.

“Record live lessons that can be stored, and those lessons can be reviewed by children and parents when they get home,” explained Haralson. “So they’d be able to pull up on the computer the lesson of the day and be able to see what the teacher taught. So now, they’ll be able to help their child in a more successful manner.”

They’ll purchase cameras, computers and smart TVs to make it possible. The grant will also help Ben Hill County’s partnership with Wiregrass Technical College.

“Let’s say they were offering a class at Wiregrass but it was full and we had a large amount of kids who wanted to participate. Now, we can put a person in place to progress monitor the classroom while the children take the class on their one-to-one device in our school,” said Haralson.

They have a similar partnership with the Irwin County.

Ben Hill County was awarded the second largest grant in the state and the seventh-largest in the nation.

The school system has a little over 3,000 kids.

“That’s quite incredible,” Haralson said. “When you look at the availability of what we were able to accomplish and what we were able to be blessed with receiving these monies for these technical opportunities.”

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