WorldwideTechnology Company Tours Moss Point Schools

"Look at what we can do," a teacher said with excitement, as she pointed to a screen.

Moss Point students started the new school year, learning how to use innovative technology to take tests.

"So you want to select the correct answer with the letter on your remote control," a teacher explained.

The Promethean ActivBoards, laptop computers, and video equipment are the newest tools in the classroom. They were all funded by a $4 million Cisco Systems grant.

"We actually rebuilt the entire cabling system," said Peg Maddocks, Cisco Systems Director of Learning and Teaching Technology. "We upgraded all the routers and switches, which is what Cisco makes, and we added the capability to run video to every room."

Cisco created the "21st Century Schools Initiative" to help seven South Mississippi school districts recover from Katrina. A team toured Moss Point schools on Tuesday, to make sure the money is being spent properly.

"We see a different atmosphere in this school today. People seem to be really upbeat, and it's just great," Maddocks said.

"This is a God-send because of the fact that we are able to put technology in the schools and have our students geared toward century 21 skills," said Stephanie Packer, Moss Point Schools Technology Infusion Director. "These are skills that are going to help them in the business world."

Cisco also sent several teachers and a principal to Harvard over the summer, so they can get additional training on the equipment and software.  And ten Cisco employees are actually living in Mississippi for at least a year, to work closely with the schools.

"Children are really the reason we're all here," Maddocks said. "We have a lot of excitement about what's going to happen in Moss Point in the next year, especially this year."

Moss Point students will also use I-Pods for classroom projects, and start a video program this year. By the way, schools in Jefferson Parish, LA, also received a $20 million grant from Cisco.