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Oct. 5, 2001

ULM receives arts to the Delta grant

The Monroe Chamber of Commerce held a press conference Thursday, Oct. 4 at 11:00 a.m. at 300 Washington Street, Suite 104, to announce the approval of a $565,000 federal grant for a northeast Louisiana educational partnership called ARTS (Asynchronously Routing Technology Solutions) to the Delta. The program will be run from the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Funding for ARTS to the Delta is from the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA recently awarded $42.8 million in Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) grants; ARTS to the Delta is one of only 74 non-profit organizations across the nation to receive a TOP grant.

"ARTS to the Delta is an advanced-technology infrastructure for northeast Louisiana which will provide a gateway for education, skills training, and enrichment for Delta-area students," said Dr. Jim Potts, Chamber Vice President of Workforce Development. "We proposed this program because we believe that information and communication empowers people."

Andy Goodman from the ULM School of Music said, "This is an exciting program, there will be computer software available where kids can compose, sing, and play keyboards all interactively."

The program will begin with elementary students and continue through high school. More advanced students will be able to write, direct and score plays through the program.
ARTS to the Delta uses the latest video conferencing and broadband technologies to provide 1) educational opportunities to increase student academic performance and retention; 2) skills enhancement to encourage entrepreneurship and
Life-long learning among economically distressed Delta residents; and 3) intercommunication opportunities so those Delta residents can have "virtual" experiences beyond their present environment.

Some schools in this part of the region don't employ many certified teachers. This program, through video conferencing, will allow certified teachers to access more students throughout the area.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe, the East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas Parishes School Districts and their Youth Opportunity Centers, the Louisiana Technical College at Tallulah, CenturyTel, SEND Technologies, and the Monroe Chamber of Commerce are all partners in the ARTS to the Delta initiative.

The president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe said at the conference, "This is an outstanding partnership and one that we are very proud to be a part of. I am very thankful to everyone involved for continuing to keep innovate education opportunities available to students in our area."

The program is expected to be in place and implemented by fall 2002.

For more information: contact Dr. Jim Potts at 318-807-4014

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