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LPS Receives Another STEM Grant

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LAWTON Okla_ LPS has just announced they've been awarded $2.5M from the Department of Defense to help stock their schools full of top-of-the-line technology and supplies.

It's called the STEM Integration Grant. It's aimed at helping schools that have a large population of military students grow stronger in areas like science, technology engineering and math.

LPS Grant Director Lance Gibbs said a big part of LPS receiving this grant is due in part to the success of a grant they received from the Department of Defense back in 2009. After that grant, they showed great improvement in the area of science, with test scores rising by 40%. Now, thanks to their hard work, they're the recipients of the highest dollar amount in the country.

Gibbs said LPS reaped heavy benefits from their last $2M grant, and with their newly awarded one, they have just as high expectations.

"Our main focus initially is just upgrading our technology," Gibbs said. "We do not have students where they can access the internet, where they can be on the computer, where they can do research."

One of the improvements to be made is the addition of something called N-line technology. In every school across the district, LPS will be receiving at least one computer lab, where they're replacing a single tower at each individual computer with only 2 servers that will service the entire 30 computer lab. Gibbs said this effectively cuts costs in half.

"We'll do that from early elementary all the way up to the high schools," Gibbs said. "Every student, every teacher, every classroom will be impacted."

Aside from packing in all sorts of new technology, this grant is doubly special, because it's coming from the Department of Defense in a time when the military is being forced to cut costs at every corner. Gibbs said this is just a testament to how highly they value the sacrifices military families have to make.

"Military kids are going to have parents that are deployed, parents that are gone a lot," Gibbs said. "It's difficult enough to live your life that way, but then education-wise, we want to give them the best education we can."

Gibbs said he will collaborate with teachers across the entire district to really pinpoint how every dollar will be spent. He said all of it will be with the ultimate goal of preparing students for a lifetime of success.

"We're getting kids ready for college, and we're getting them ready for a career," Gibbs said. "We're not only helping them get in a career but then sustain a career once they get to that point."

LPS is one of only 15 districts in the nation to receive the money. Gibbs said they hope to start making changes to the schools in September when the money becomes available.

Lawton isn't the only district in Comanche County receiving money from this grant. Elgin Public Schools was also awarded nearly $1M. Superintendent Tom Crimmins said they are ecstatic about the grant and are eager to put it to good use. The combined amount given to both districts comes to more than 10% of the total money awarded to all 15 districts.

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