(Frankfort, Ky.) – The Kentucky Department of Education has recognized two Kentucky lawmakers, Rep. Kelly Flood and Sen. David Givens, with the 2015-16 Stilwell Award for their personal dedication to and support of education technology.

Flood of Lexington and Givens, who is from Greensburg, were successful in their efforts to get an additional $5.8 million appropriated during the 2014-16 biennium in support of five major education technology projects. The initiatives came to fruition in 2015 and 2016, and continue to benefit teachers and the children in each of the state’s 173 school districts.

The projects include:

  • faster Internet speeds. In August 2015, Kentucky became the first state in the nation with fiber connections in all schools and district offices that provided at least 100 kb per student of Internet speed.
  • firewall protection from cyberattacks. In November 2015 all 173 districts had this in place.
  • an Internet content management system that maximizes the 100 kb per student/digital citizenship. Almost all school districts have transitioned successfully to the new system; the remaining six districts are expected to make the transition this summer or when their existing contracts end.
  • additional financial assistance to school districts for technology. The state was able to stretch state funds by taking advantage of the federal E-rate program and was able to help more school districts replace their aging computers.
  • Kentucky’s first IT Academy for K-12’s students. The Kentucky K-12 Microsoft IT Academy launched successfully in August 2015 and has since been renamed the Kentucky K-12 Imagination Academy. Since its inception, students have taken 40,000 IT-related courses and completed more than 25,000 of them. Kentucky K-12 students have successfully completed more than 6,000 professional IT certification exams – the best of any state in the nation during its inaugural year of implementation.

“Rep. Flood and Sen. Givens are great champions of these as well as other education technology initiatives,” Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said. “They understand the importance of technology in student learning and in preparing students for the world they will enter after they graduate from high school.”

Flood and Givens will discuss their commitment to education technology and support for the Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) on May 16 at 9 p.m. ET on KET in a special Education Matters recorded at the STLP state competition.

The Stilwell Award is named after the late Dr. William E. Stilwell, a long time faculty member of the University of Kentucky’s College of Education who worked diligently throughout his career to improve educators’ access to modern technology. Stilwell managed numerous LISTSERVs and provided technology support within the college. The award incorporates a pair of red suspenders like those Stilwell was known for wearing.