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PCSS VITAL program reaches more studentsIt seems school grants have become commonplace as education budgets continue to be cut, and therefore, the fight to win a grant is increasingly becoming more difficult. I recently had an interesting conversation with Stephanie Jones, Manager of the Cisco Grant Services Team, and Hillary Janison, Regional Grant Manager for Cisco about Putnam County School System (PCSS) in Tennessee. PCSS worked with the Cisco team to implement a comprehensive grant initiative to bridge the distance gap between the state’s classrooms.

The wide physical distribution (17 campuses) of students among multiple classrooms throughout the state presented PCSS with a number of challenges, including inability to sustain IT and teaching resources, manage personnel, and provide appropriate opportunities for advanced learners. Additionally, faced with an ever-shrinking pool of personnel and classroom resources, PCSS officials knew they would need to maximize their efficiency.

After working closely with the Cisco Grant Services Team, PCSS was awarded two of the USDA USDA Rural Development Services Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants (USDA RUS). With the assistance of these funds, PCSS implemented Cisco TelePresence and other collaboration technologies to help solve some of these issues.

Collaborative technology has given PCSS the ability to provide its students in rural Putnam County with opportunities to network with fellow students throughout the state, as well as bright minds across the globe. Students are now able to access academic programs from any PCSS campus and enjoy instantaneous connecting power, attend virtual fieldtrips and share educational content.

If you want to learn more about PCSS or grants in general, you can reach Stephanie’s team directly at grant_services@cisco.com.

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