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OCM BOCES receives $469,012 rural development grant

Grant Will Help Install Interactive Video System in 11 Rural School Districts

Rep. Dan Maffei (NY-25) joined USDA Rural Development State Director Jill Harvey Monday Dec. 14 to present a $469,012 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant to the Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM BOCES).

OCM BOCES will use the grant to install an interactive video conferencing system that will connect its Syracuse campus with 23 schools in 11 rural Central New York school districts. The video-conferencing system enables students to take courses that are generally not available at their schools, including advanced placement classes and college courses. The system also provides a cost-effective method for professional development and job retraining. Video conferencing provides students with excellent instructional opportunities, including collaborations with other students across the state and nation, virtual field trips to museums and organizations like NASA, and interactions with professionals from a variety of fields.

The 11 districts involved in the project are Tully, Onondaga, McGraw, Marathon, LaFayette, Homer, DeRuyter, Cincinnatus, Chittenango, Fabius-Pompey and Cazenovia.

"Providing new opportunities for our students to excel, no matter where they live, is incredibly important," Maffei said. "To be able to bring such cutting edge technology to small schools and rural areas across the area is exciting, and I'm pleased that even in tough economic times we are making important investments in our students and our future."

"One of Rural Development's primary missions is improving the quality of life in our rural communities and supporting innovative educational initiatives is one of the ways we achieve that objective," Harvey said. "The OCM BOCES project will directly improve educational opportunities for more than 9,000 students in small, rural Central New York districts and I am pleased -- and proud -- that my agency is able to support such a worthwhile effort."

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