Department of Education Receives National Award

October 02, 2001

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Bob Wise today announced that the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has received the 2001 Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Information Technology. The award was given to the Digital Divide Bridging Blocks project, a statewide telecommunications initiative for all West Virginia schools. The benefits of the statewide approach have provided more than $26.5 million in E-rate discounts for West Virginia schools.  

"The significance of this project for West Virginia is immeasurable," said Gov. Wise. "Electronic tools help students and educators in every corner of West Virginia prepare for lifelong learning."  

The Telecommunication Act of 1996 telecommunication provides discounts for schools to access the Internet. The WVDE Office of Technology and Information Systems completed an application for every school in the state.  

"Internet access to our students and our teachers has truly bridged the digital divide and permitted us to bring affordable telecommunications to students, educators, communities and citizens," said Phyllis Justice, project leader.  

The Digital Divide Bridging Block project also has allowed better access to government services via the Web. Because schools also share a statewide electronic administrative information system via the same telecommunications lines, other agencies also may acquire appropriate data from the schools/state in a timelier manner. The project also decreases the possibility of data collection duplication.  

"The WVDE continues to be a shining example of how state agencies can take full advantage of technology," said West Virginia Chief Technology Officer Keith Comstock." I am proud the state is being recognized for a job well-done."  

Information Technology projects from across the United States were judged on benefits realized by service, tax payers and state agencies as well as a return on investment. Full submissions from all nominations are posted on NASCIO's website at

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