Thanks to their efforts, they helped earn the school $10,000 worth of technology from the Best Buy School Tech Grants program.
The two members of the Kyle staff saw a promotion regarding an opportunity to earn a $10,000 grant from the technology franchise chain just prior to Christmas.
Ives, who teaches a lot of different subjects including Math (10-12), Law and Social Studies, along with Gillanders, says outside consultation and input from other instructors and students asked for and taken into account.
“We knew what we wanted to do,” says Ives.
Other than just logistics and co-ordination with Sun West School Division staff to get it properly installed and connected, they would like the technology used and implemented as quickly as possible.
“Ideally, it would have been done yesterday,” adds Ives with a chuckle.
The $10,000 worth of technology and computers isn’t the end for the project. It is a ‘first phase’ of a bigger plan which hadn’t been on the radar at the beginning of the year, but now can begin.
“We weren’t seeking out to do this, but in December we saw an opportunity; everything happened so fast,” Ives says.
They formally applied for the grant just before the pre-Christmas deadline and had a phone interview with the panel of judges in mid January. Right after the interview took place, they were told about the acceptance of their grant application.
They had to keep it a secret from the rest of the school other than the school board to let them know what was going on and follow protocol. There was a scheduled unveiling and celebration of the accomplishment March 9 at an assembly. Best Buy was to send them a giant “novelty” cheque in order to mark the occasion.
Karen Arsenault, community relations manager at Best Buy Canada, says judges liked what they saw from the Kyle submission.
“We had a panel of judges who shortlisted them right away; they (Kyle) definitely stood out,” explains Arsenault from her Vancouver office. “What they were looking for was how overall inspiring it was; how the technology will impact the kids’ involvement in education and the feasibility. Their presentation was definitely able to motivate and inspire the judges.”
There were 220 applications for the $10,000 grants with 15 other winners. Kyle was the only Saskatchewan school with the next closest being the only two Alberta schools, one from Edmonton and one from Red Deer.
Kyle was the community the smallest populated of the winners — the Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario being next smallest.
Arsenault adds they were also impressed with the opportunities of the computer to student ratio. Kyle was one of the more rural-based submissions they received and the Best Buy judges also liked they were able to help Sun West provide some possible on-line elective opportunities in the future as well.
Since 2008, Arsenault says the company has given $2.5-million worth of equipment to more than 150 schools across Canada.