Charleston County Schools receive $19 million Race to the Top grant

by Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Rae-Nessha White got an iPad from school halfway through her junior year at Burke High School. Now a senior, she said it helped her learning.

"At the end of the day, I'll go home and look at notes or something that my teacher posted," she said.

White said she liked taking notes during lecture. But, a lot of her classmates did not learn the same way. In classrooms at Burke, that{}was not a problem. Students went at their own pace and used the iPad as a guide.

Burke High School was a pilot program in Charleston County. The county school district{}announced it received a $19 million federal Race to the Top grant Wednesday. The money will be used to put more iPads and other technology in schools.

"It's changing the learning so students own their own learning, rather than the teacher being the expert knowledge about everything. The teacher is now the facilitator," said Lainie Berry, who directs educational technology and instructional support for the school district.

The new ways are a radical shift in the way teachers run classrooms. $19 million can buy a lot of iPads and other technology, but it will also pay for teacher training. Race to the Top will take off in 19 under-performing schools{}under the feeder systems of Stall, Burke and St. John's high schools.

St. John's principal Lee Runyon said the school had a record report card last year,{}after it got iPads.

"What this will do is help us refine that work and sustain our work and go a bit further than we've gone already," Runyon said.

And for those who said{}adding technology{}is taking students' attention away from the subject at hand, White disagreed.

"There are always going to be distractions, whether its your iPad, your cellphone or{}your book bag. Anything can distract you. But, it's up to the student," she said.

School officials said they will hold school meetings with parents to explain how they can help their child adjust to the new system.