Then: January 2012. The colorful display of holiday lights at the Powell family’s home on Henri Court, aka Candy Cane Court, won the most votes in a national contest sponsored by the website Patch.com. As a result, Patch awarded a $100,000 donation to the school district that serves the community where the prize-winning decorated home is located.
Now: The $100,000 is being spent on technology-related needs around the school district, which will benefit students and teachers. The District Technology Advisory Committee established three goals for the money: widespread impact on student learning regardless of program or grade; equitable distribution across the district’s schools; and responsiveness to common requests from site staff.
Superintendent Winfred Roberson said $20,000 has already ben spent on a district license to California Learns, “an enormous clearinghouse of online educational resources, including Common Core standards-based lessons.”
“The remainder of the generous donation will go to installing wireless access points and upgrading infrastructure in all school libraries across the district,” the superintendent said. “If all goes according to plan, the new technology could be installed and operational at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year (in August).”
Kim Wallace, the district’s director of instructional technology, said “this generous donation will help us launch the district’s plan to increase student learning opportunities via wireless devices. There are many new instructional technologies that rely solely on wireless capacity, so this investment in infrastructure will allow us to implement a wider diversity of devices at our schools.”
A closing footnote: After taking down their holiday lights this January, the residents of Henri Court decided “to take a step back and enjoy what we have done and the gift we’ve given to the community,” and start decorating their homes with holiday lights individually, rather than as a coordinated team, Kristy Powell said.
“We truly have enjoyed doing this,” Powell said, adding, “It’s just run its course; 10 years is a long time.”