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Department Employee Receives National Partnership in Education Award

November 01, 2001

Phyllis Justice, telecommunications specialist with the West Virginia Department of Education, received the Little Debbie Award for her leadership role in developing partnerships that help students reach local, state and/or national standards through systemic change. She received her award during a Partnership in Education Awards Banquet in Anchorage, Alaska, on November 1 (http://www.alaskapartners.org).  

When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created rules and regulations for the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a component included telecommunication discounts for schools to access the internet. Justice led the charge to develop, coordinate and implement the various tasks to provide equity in access which ultimately improves student achievement. Working with FCC attorneys, federal program administrators and other state departments of education, Justice gained first-hand knowledge to implement the state E-rate program. Justice took charge of the initiative by taking time to complete an application for every school in West Virginia generating $26.5 million in E-rate discounts for classrooms.  

Justiceís efforts have resulted in students in West Virginia schools having access to online courses, IT certification programs, productivity skills, student email accounts and internet access for research and resources. By improving access, teachers and parents have greater computer training opportunities and access to juried lesson plans and curriculum content through the stateís Reinventing Education project and other partnerships.  

This is the third award Justice has received this year. In May, Governor Bob Wise awarded her the Governorís Information Technology Award for her work with internet access in K-12 schools and technical centers across West Virginia. Additionally, Justice was recognized nationally by the National Association of State Information Resource Executives.

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