Columbia – The South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) honored Google with a Champions for Public Education Award on Tuesday, September 26, during the Berkeley County School Board Meeting.
SCSBA Executive Director Scott Price presented the association’s award along with Berkeley County School Board Chair Sally Ann Wofford to Google representatives Data Center Facilities Manager Paul Carff and Data Center Hardware Operations Manager Rob Sanchez.
The Berkeley County School District Board of Trustees nominated Google for the award, which is presented to community residents, organizations or local businesses/industries whose support of and contributions to public education have significantly benefited the school district or public schools statewide.
The partnership between Google and the school district serves as a model for other school districts and community partners in our state and is why SCSBA recognized and honored them with a Champions for Public Education Award.
“Google's ongoing investment in Berkeley County School District students, teachers, staff and community pays dividends. Its innovation fosters creativity in other business partners, making this entire community more collaborative and their students more successful,” said SCSBA Executive Director Scott Price.
In the nomination, the Berkeley County School District board recognized Google’s dedication and commitment to the success of the Berkeley County students and staff in the district. They specifically noted the time, talents and innovative resources Google gives to ensure that Berkeley County students are prepared for their next steps as graduates.
For example, Rob Sanchez, Data Center Hardware Operations Manager at Google, led a grant writing workshop during the summer for more than 50 participants. Because of the workshop, many schools applied for grants through Google's Community Grant Program and were awarded funding.
Another district initiative, called “OneBerkeley Connects,” was created to support students in their education journey by providing them with a digital device to be used both at school and at home. Through the district's partnership with Google, they were able to provide Chromebooks to students at three schools.
Lilyn Hester, Head of Southeast Public Affairs for Google, worked with the district to create South Carolina's first ever “Rolling Study Halls” in Berkeley County. The Rolling Study Hall is a pilot program that takes advantage of long school bus commutes to create an innovative learning space for students.
By equipping buses with free internet access, the “Rolling Study Halls” give students access to the internet during their bus ride to and from school that they may not have at home. Students are able to complete homework on the bus using district issued Chromebooks.
Berkeley County students living in the most rural areas are now able to do homework and explore other interests while riding the bus. Google's partnership in this project shows that they, like the district, believe access for every student is necessary and that it can change the lives of our students for the better.
“Berkeley County School District is very proud and fortunate to have such an innovative partnership with Google,” said Board Chairwoman Sally Wofford. “The Rolling Study Halls initiative is a brilliant solution to barriers our students may face as it provides internet access to many students in our most rural communities. This technology creates opportunities to learn and grow beyond the school day. It truly opens up a new world of possibilities for BCSD students.”
To receive the award, recipients must meet the following criteria:
- show leadership in support of ongoing or special programs authorized by the school board
- demonstrate, through actions, pride for the school district and effectively work for the betterment of the schools in the district as a whole, or for public schools statewide
- understand public education’s importance to a democratic society and actively inspire
support for quality public schools within the community or state
- make a difference for the entire school district or schools statewide