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NetDay Press Releases

March 23, 2000

NetDay Announces New Mission To Meet Evolving Technology Needs

Irvine, CA -- NetDay, a non-profit organization known for its one-day "electronic barnraising" efforts connecting neighborhood schools to the Internet, has announced an expanded mission to "think beyond" classroom connections. Building on the NetDay legacy of awareness and empowerment, the organization will also serve as a national information network of technology resources where schools and communities can find guidance materials on effective integration of technology.

In their new role, NetDay is dedicating a majority of its resources toward the NetDay Digital Divide Initiative. The Initiative will create 90 high-tech model schools in 16 Empowerment Zones, some of the most impoverished communities around the country. Work has already begun in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, Washington, D.C., the Rio Grande Valley and the Mississippi River Delta. NetDay project directors in these cities are working to establish advisory boards, clarify strategic partners, and solicit resource commitments. With the wiring infrastructure already underway within these seven locations, NetDay is now focusing on strategic planning for professional development and content integration.

"From community to community, NetDay has been wiring schools across the country which is a great first step, but it's not the final step," said NetDay Chief Executive Officer Julie Evans. "Our goal for the new millennium is to continue connecting schools and community centers, and to facilitate lifelong learning by empowering community members, teachers, and students using technology. With our Digital Divide Initiative we hope to give every student and every school an equal chance to soar."

The timing for the expanded effort is critical. While classroom connectivity to the Internet increased from 8 percent to 51 percent between 1995 and 1998, nearly 16 percent of the nation's schools in high poverty areas still lack access. In the wealthiest communities, schools average one computer for every 10 students. In the nation's poorest communities 1 computer can be shared by as many as 17 students.

These problems go far beyond access alone. According to recent studies, only 20 percent of the nation's teachers feel well prepared or comfortable integrating education technology into classroom instruction. Teachers continue to cite a lack of professional development opportunities as a stumbling block for using technology in the classroom.

"We're still here to lend a hand to all of the communities that need to take that first step in getting their schools wired," said John Gage, co-founder of NetDay and Chief Researcher and Director of the Science Office at Sun Microsystems. "But we're also joining forces with the best minds in the field to help all schools use this technology to create pathways to higher achievement."

Working in partnership with several education, technology and business groups, and with support from the public and private sector, NetDay is becoming a local and national resource for all technology-related needs at the classroom, school, and community level. To fully achieve its mission, NetDay is pursuing partnerships with a number of education groups, including TechCorps, the National Education Association, Communities in Schools, the National School Boards Association, the American Association of School Administrators, and the Department of Education. The organization also plans to work extensively with the private sector to widen the pool of resources available for national and local technology education efforts.

NetDay National School Wiring Day 2000 will be on April 8. This event is a unique opportunity for community members, business leaders, and parent volunteers to help schools expand or enhance their Internet connectivity. NetDay will provide information about installation tactics, sponsorship support, and action steps that can enable communities to use access to create new opportunities for improved teaching and student achievement. Individuals and organizations looking for more information should log onto the NetDay Web site at Volunteers may sign-up to participate in their communities by registering at