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Press Release: Governor O'Malley, Lt. Governor Brown Announce 2014 Early College, Digital Learning Grantees

For Immediate Release                                                      

Media Contacts: Nina Smith, Governor's Office: 410-533-0363
                           Bill Reinhard, MSDE: 410-767-0486

Annapolis, MD (September 18, 2014)

Governor Martin O’Malley today announced $4.9 million in grants through the 2014 Digital Learning Innovation Fund and the Early College Innovation Funds. This is the second year that the grants, which promote programs to prepare students to compete in the 21st century economy, have been awarded in Maryland.

“Together, the Digital Learning and Early College grants provide a critical resource to expanding educational opportunity for students across our State,” said Governor O’Malley. “These funds will ensure that our students continue to be among the highest achieving in the nation, and can compete for jobs in a changing economy.”

The Digital Learning Innovation Fund helps local school systems maximize the potential of new and emerging technologies to improve the teaching and learning environment, as well as to better prepare all students for the workforce of today and the future. Nine school systems were awarded the second round of Digital Learning Innovation Fund grants, which totaled $3.5 million, and will enable schools to utilize new and emerging technologies to strengthen student learning.

The Early College Innovation Fund supports efforts in Maryland to increase access to postsecondary education and help students obtain the credentials necessary to compete for jobs in growing sectors of the state’s economy. This year, four school system-postsecondary education partnerships were awarded the second series of Early College Innovation Grants, which totaled $1.4 million, and will help further develop partnerships between local school systems and higher education institutions and expand access to college.

“Our Digital Learning and Early College Innovation Grant programs prepare Maryland students for future success,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “These investments will ensure more of our young men and women have access to the most innovative technologies in the classroom and are better prepared for continued success in college or a career.”

As part of Governor O’Malley’s 16 Strategic Goals, the O’Malley-Brown Administration remains committed to improving student achievement and school, college, and career readiness in Maryland by 25% by the end of 2015. Both the Digital Learning Innovation Fund and the Early College Innovation Fund are critical parts of the Administration’s efforts to expand access to quality education for all Maryland students. These programs build on Maryland’s record success in education and continue to ensure that students can not only graduate with the skills they need to succeed, but also compete for jobs.

“Our goal is to ensure each one of our students is ready for college or career by the time they receive their high school diploma, and these grants lead us in that direction,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery. “Cutting-edge educational technology and new early college programs offer tools that move our students forward.”

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) awarded Digital Learning Innovation Grants to the following school systems:  Baltimore County ($300,000), Carroll County ($340,000), Frederick County ($500,000), Garrett County ($200,000), Harford County ($510,000) Howard County ($500,000), Prince George’s County ($350,000), Somerset County ($400,000), and Wicomico County ($400,000).

MSDE awarded Early College Innovation Grants to the following partnerships: Hagerstown Community College partnering with Washington County Public Schools ($196,976), Howard County Public Schools working with Howard Community College ($248,016), Montgomery County Public Schools in partnership with Montgomery College ($173,662.50), and Prince George’s Community College ($600,000).

After five years of number-one-in-the nation rankings, the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s FY 15 budget included over $6 billion in new investments in education and an additional  $275 million in school construction. Earlier this year, the Governor signed the Administration’s 2014 pre-k education legislation into law, expanding options for 1600 additional pre-schoolers across Maryland through a grant program and paving the way for further statewide expansion in coming years. According to College Board, Maryland not only has the lowest college tuition in the nation, students in Maryland also rank #1 in AP success. Additionally, in 2014, data found that Maryland students are graduating from high school at the highest rate in the State’s history.

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