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Hello all:
 
Later this week, your superintendent is going to get a request for a letter of support for the VTA broadband work that the VTDOE is involved in.
 
That letter is crucial to us in that we are involved in a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and it could mean substantial funding for last mile connections for fiber to Vermont schools.  This could significantly change our Internet access landscape. 
 
Anyways.. The letter that needs to be sent back to Commissioner Vilaseca (and ultimately find its way to my desk) has to have some compelling reasons for need of broadband access and quality for your schools and/or SU.   Yep, I know that you know this a "no-brainer".. we have suffered long enough, but the compelling parts of this application are the letters of support from the community anchor institutions which are of course our schools. 
 
So, my need for your help is two-fold.
 
1.  Please inquire to your superintendent about the letter and whether they have seen the notice.  It is coming in the Thursday, Feb. 25 Weekly Field Memo from the Department. (it is also being sent to Tech coordinators).  Just try to be sure it is on their radar. 
 
2.  Please help them all you can in providing empirical, statistical information on the section of the letter that calls for it.  If you can indicate the current broadband up, down through-put rates, the issues you may have with resetting routers and cable modems, (how many times a day, week, etc.) your issues with using video, audio, media resources, things you would not block if you had more bandwidth, things you see coming down the pike that will impact your bandwidth, I think you get the picture.  The more compelling and the more need we indicate the better our application will be.  Make it personal where you can.. "Our K-8 students that come from homes with high poverty have been studying Russian culture, they have an opportunity to connect to a classrom there, and will not be able to unless we bus them to New Hampshire, where they have a robust connection etc. etc."   Maybe add that they'll have to walk across the frozen Connecticut river... mmm never mind..
 
You get it....
 
Like I say...this is important for this application.. Potential funds on this are 20-50 million dollars. 
 
Some of you are saying, but we sent a letter last SPring.. that you did .. those are being used to help connect some schools this year to the VTA funded network.  This new letter is different because it asks specifically for local examples of need. 
 
We need the letters back from Superintendents .. signed and on SU letterhead no later than March 8th.  I know.. tight deadline.. sorry, but this has been building up as we develop the letter..  trying to coordinate this with 4 other entities.  
 
Anyways.. many, many thanks...
 
Call or email if you want a bit more information.... 
 
Thanks.. 
 
Peter Drescher
Education Technology Coordinator
Vermont Department of Education
120 State St.
Montpelier, VT  05620-2501
802.828.5149 (ph)
802.828.6563 (fax)
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Twitter:  VTDOE_EdTech